Capturing the benefits of supportive cancer care

Case study Consultancy

Living well with cancer or after cancer treatment has never been more important than it is now. We helped Penny Brohn Cancer Care to evaluate the immediate and lasting impact of a two-day psychosocial intervention for people with cancer and their supporters.

Stacked up pebbles

The challenge

When clients attend Penny Brohn Cancer Care for support they often leave eulogising about the care and support they have received. For the charity to be able to tell commissioners and funders about this benefit, they need to capture these experiences in a scientific manner, as opposed to just using testimonials.

The brief was to evaluate the charity’s Living Well With and Beyond Cancer course in such a way that will help the charity present its data to consultant oncologists, GPs, cancer nurse specialists, clinical commissioning groups and commissioners, and of course to the supporters and users of the charity.

How did we help?

During the evaluation, we captured the experience of 171 service users and followed them over a one-year period. We measured how and why the Living Well With and Beyond Cancer course is beneficial to the people on it. We also identified key time points after the course when more client support would be advantageous as well as way in which this support could be provided.

In detail, we:

  • advised on the possible ways to capture relevant data and the structure of the service evaluation
  • advised on all ethical dimensions of the evaluation
  • provided data analysis expertise, especially in combining a variety of different data types
  • created a concept model of the immediate and longer-term effects of the Living Well course
  • identified ways in which the course and the patient experience could be improved
  • provided expertise to report the findings to a range of stakeholders

The results

This work has provided crucial evidence that lead to the charity winning funding from the Department of Health Excellence fund, Macmillan and several other smaller bids, all of which have resulted in more service provision and helping more people with cancer across the UK.

Specifically, we wrote up the service evaluation as a full report and an executive summary, which was a seminal piece of work for the charity.

Dr Marie Polley also presented the data at their annual Living Well Conference and at the 10th International Conference for the Society of Integrative Oncology in Vancouver, Canada. Three academic papers are being published about the work.

  • The Department of Health viewed the evaluation findings and report to constitute a 'robust' service evaluation, allowing the charity to apply for and receive an 'excellence' funding award to fund more services.
  • Data is used by the charity to benchmark the expected level of benefit to patients who are using the courses around the country and to report course performance statistics to NHS commissioners.
  • The concept model that was created to understand the impact of the two-day course over the space of a year has informed the design of a new stratified pathway of care, which provides strategic levels of support to suit different client needs. Large funding bids have now been submitted to embed the stratified pathways of care within NHS cancer services.

More about us

We have an extensive knowledge of working with the charity sector and the NHS to evaluate services. We can design a bespoke evaluation with minimal impact to the running of the service, whatever the current set-up.

Our approach to listening to the patient and coupling this with validated outcome measures can provide you with a rounded idea of how well a service is performing and identify potential strategic changes to improve patient experience and their outcomes. Let us do the work for you!

Contact us to find out what we can do for your organisation.

This work has opened doors to expanding services at a charity, by providing evidence for funding bids, informing future service design and raising the profile of the charity due to dissemination of a high-quality piece of work. Michael Connors, Director of Services, Penny Brohn Cancer Care

Who was involved

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Sue Tuttlebury
Knowledge Exchange Development Team Manager
Commercial Development and Business Support

E: [email protected]
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