New app to support County Durham and Darlington cancer patients

A new app is to be rolled-out by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to support patients during and following cancer treatment.

The app has been developed by Health Call and technology provider Inhealthcare. The project has been funded by the Northern Cancer Alliance, with content developed by the Macmillan project team in collaboration with clinical teams and patients.

The My Wellbeing Space app will be available for free to patients to support them at any stage of their treatment. It provides advice and links, with content including physical activity, late effects of treatment, food and nutrition, financial concerns, fatigue, emotional wellbeing and treatments.

It also includes short video clips delivered by a consultant, clinical nurse specialist, wellbeing practitioners, GP, oncologist, a patient and carer. Patients will be given access to the app during their treatment.

Clare Doney, Macmillan lead cancer nurse, said: “Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing event affecting patients, families and friends emotionally as well as physically.”

“We want to provide holistic support as soon as possible and the app is one way that we can reach out to more people. It gives our patients tools and resources to support and empower them to contribute to their wellbeing and overall health.”

The app will initially benefit patients receiving care from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, with plans to share the app across the North East and Cumbria.

Tina Murray, a patient who completed two and a half years’ of treatment for cancer earlier this year, said” “Coming towards the end of cancer treatment, I felt fear rather than elation. My life had been consumed by appointments, tests, treatments and I feared the loss of that structure.  This is when you can start to realise the enormity of what has happened, feel isolated and fear the future. This is where the App comes in. It helps crystallise and identify in your mind the issues you are facing.  It provides all sorts of information and sources of support available to you to help you through your emergence from treatment.  You can get help dealing with your emotional mental health, as well as physical issues such as fatigue and where to get support for financial concerns. The App is very simple to use and because the support information is tailored to your local area, very relevant.”

Bryn Sage, chief executive at technology provider Inhealthcare, said: “This is a great example of how health technology can support people living with long-term conditions, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.”

“As well as providing reassurance to patients, My Wellbeing Space also promotes a healthy lifestyle which can help the body to recover after cancer treatment.”