This is the second of our case studies showing the difference Wellbeing Our Way is making for some of the organisations involved in the programme. Here, Lee Marriott-Dowding reflects on how new opportunities for partnership working are supporting her to develop the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer’s approaches to working with people with long term health needs.
“Wellbeing our Way is giving us an opportunity to be able to develop how we engage and empower patients to help them to manage their long term conditions. This is being achieved through workshops - which include peer support and information sharing – and also through new networks and opportunities for communication with other organisations.”
- Lee Marriot-Dowding, James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer
The James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer is the UK’s leading specialist kidney cancer charity. It seeks to reduce the harm caused by kidney cancer by increasing knowledge and awareness, providing patient information and by supporting research into the causes, prevention and treatment of the disease.
The James Whale Funds Kidney Cancer Careline is a telephone helpline operated by the patient support team, who each have their own experiences of kidney cancer. This personal experience means that the helpline offers powerful peer support, and encouragement to patients and their families following a diagnosis of kidney cancer.
The charity is also piloting a Buddy Programme in Scotland which aims to offer support for each person diagnosed with kidney cancer from a team experienced in living with the condition. Through working with Maggie’s, volunteers are trained and supported to offer support to newly diagnosed patients and their families.
Lee Marriott Dowding (Team Leader – Patient Support) attended Wellbeing Our Way’s care and support planning and peer support POW WOWs (shared learning workshops), as she is keen to explore how both of these approaches can be developed within the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer.
Since meeting colleagues from the Bromley by Bow Centre (BBBC) and Macmillan Cancer Support at the care and support planning workshop, Lee has developed a mutually supportive relationship with the BBBC, focused around their innovative social prescribing programme for people in recovery from cancer. The programme is based at BBBC and supported by Macmillan.
James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer and BBBC are coming together to share their expertise in order to ensure that BBBC’s social prescribing programme takes advantage of the James Whale Fund’s many years’ experience of understanding the needs of people living with cancer. The James Whale Fund is benefitting from learning more about how social prescribing can work in practice from BBBC.
Lee was also able to create links with Macmillan Cancer Support after learning about their electronic holistic needs assessment at the shared learning workshop. Lee described the value of being able to learn from bigger organisations and use existing knowledge and experience in order to develop practice within much smaller organisations with less resource.
Lee’s involvement in Wellbeing Our Way has also created a change in the way in which the James Whale Fund supports those affected by kidney cancer, through their regular Patient Days. Previously, the Patient Days focused on providing patients and their families with much-needed information about surgery for kidney cancer, current drug treatments, research into new treatments, management of side-effects to drugs, the role of the clinical nurse specialist and dietary advice.
Since Lee’s involvement with Wellbeing Our Way, the days will be focused around wellbeing, rather than a narrower, clinical focus. For instance, people are now able to speak to counsellors around the emotional impact of their cancer diagnosis, and explore the ways in which exercise can help them to live well.
Lee reflects that the opportunity to come together with other organisations, through the POW WOWs, has contributed an invaluable source of support for her role in developing the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer approaches in these areas.