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James Padget patients pioneer start-of-the-art digital cancer support



James Paget University Hospital in Norfolk is piloting a state-of-the-art prehabilitation programme that helps newly-diagnosed cancer patients prepare for treatment.

The service will initially be offered to people in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area diagnosed with colorectal cancer, with plans to extend this to other cancer patients as the pilot evolves.

Patients will be able to use a specially designed digital cancer care app to link them with their clinical teams and monitor progress.

They will also have access to specialist exercise classes in a local gym alongside other lifestyle and psychological support.

The scheme has been developed in close collaboration with patient representatives, including Rod Earp of the ‘Together Against Cancer’ patient user group.

Earp said:

“The programme aims to give patients maximum help in understanding their treatment options, how they will affect them and how they may best adapt so they can react to the new challenges their cancer treatments will bring.”

Each patient is invited to attend an assessment clinic an expert prehabilitation practitioner assesses their mobility and general health is assessed by

Recommendations are then made to help patients achieve the best possible level of physical and emotional wellbeing before their treatment starts, such as joining a specially designed exercise class for people with cancer, held at a local centre.

Newly diagnosed cancer patients will be invited by the James Paget Hospital Prehabilitation Project Team to use the Careology app.

This will enable patients and their family members or carers to track what is happening to them and have an easy way to communicate with their cancer care team.

Careology will also provide virtual support whenever required, with patients able to access trusted information from Macmillan Cancer Support, downloaded through a  bespoke interface.

Careology will also provide a virtual ward, with remote insights and data to enable clinical teams to safely monitor the patient and their progress.

The Cancer Alliance will evaluate the effectiveness of the prehabilitation programme and the benefits of the app following a six month pilot.

Lisa Motley, Programme Manager said:

“The partnership with Careology and the James Paget Hospital enables us to deliver on the personalised care ambitions of the NHS Cancer Programme and to reinforce clinical care digitally in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.”

A patient directly involved in developing the programme commented:

“Knowing I can now help myself before I start my treatment is such a relief. It’s a really scary time when you’re waiting to receive treatment.

“The new prehabilitation programme and the app will now give me a sense of control and purpose.”

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