By Debbie Provan
National AHP Lead for Cancer Rehabilitation
In September 2013 AHP Scot Blog was taken over by a group of AHPs who were keen to raise the profile of their work within cancer services. This month another group aimed to do the same.
Whilst both sessions have brought a wide range of viewers, a number of likes and a series of comments to the blog, a lot more needs to be done to make AHPs, and indeed cancer rehabilitation, a core part of cancer pathways.
This month’s blogs challenged us to consider age old practices; illustrated how lifestyle changes and AHP-led therapeutic interventions could improve experience and clinical outcomes; and showcased how small and seemingly simple changes to service provision could improve response times and patient satisfaction. Together these blogs highlight the need to think differently and the importance of AHP roles. When considered in the context of a rising incidence of cancer, increased survivorship rates and the occurrence of late effects which can be debilitating and resource intensive, it is even more obvious that we cannot continue on the same path as before and innovations, research and services such as these must be developed further.
The integration of health and social care, and programmes of work such as Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) certainly have the potential to provide AHPs with opportunities to engage in multiple stages of the patient pathway, and make a real difference to care and outcomes.
However, AHPs must be willing and able to join these programmes of work and come armed with facts and figures to support their interventions. This blog is therefore a call to action; I urge you all to continue the #AHPCancerRehab conversation, and to share your work and discuss new ways in which we can expand our reach and support people to live well beyond a diagnosis of cancer. To support you in this task a community of practice has been set up. The community is open to all, as that in itself may help to make the professions easier to access and understand; however only those who join can add content, start or engage in discussions and support each other through a shared purpose. I therefore encourage those with an Athens username to join and share. AHP Scot Blog is also encouraging further submissions, so if you have a service or an improvement or an idea you want to tell the world about get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on twitter @AHPScot. You can also comment below, share these blogs with colleagues and friends, and you can contact the authors directly or you can contact me; my details are below and I would be happy to hear of any innovative ideas or services.
Thank you for reading and most importantly thank you for participating.