The following section highlights the positive outcomes, achievements, and impact of the project, underscoring its successful implementation. However, it is equally important to acknowledge the key challenges encountered during the project. By listing these challenges, healthcare professionals reading this document can be informed and better equipped to mitigate them when considering the replication of similar quality improvement projects.
Revolutionising Ovarian Cancer Care: The Prehabilitation Project
Addressing the difficulties faced by elderly, frail ovarian cancer patients, the Belfast Trust established a dedicated Prehabilitation Clinic. The aim was two-fold: to boost patient fitness levels and to ensure equal access to services. This novel approach aimed to resolve a significant issue: a disparity in access to standard treatments for elderly, frail patients. Often, these patients faced exclusion from surgeries or chemotherapy due to the advanced disease stage and treatment pathway delays.
Innovative Design and Robust Implementation
In an innovative response to these challenges, the clinic launched a unique prehabilitation model, tailoring interventions such as physiotherapy, nutritional counselling, and psychological support to individual patient needs. This model aimed to optimise frailty, functional capacity, nutritional status, and psychological well-being, the key indicators of patient health and treatment eligibility.
Striking Results and Lasting Impact
The clinic achieved significant success, enrolling 76 women into the prehabilitation programme. These women, initially displaying symptoms of frailty, reduced exercise capacity, malnutrition risk, and high stress levels, witnessed considerable improvements in their health post the programme. Their enhanced physical resilience and overall well-being were testimonies to the effectiveness of the personalised interventions.
Learnings and the Road Ahead
The prehabilitation project's journey offered valuable insights. It underscored the importance of robust communication and collaboration, pivotal to integrating prehabilitation into the Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT). Even amidst challenges like staffing issues, the clinic maintained continuous service provision.
The clinic received high praise from patients and staff alike, securing recurring funding from commissioners and thereby guaranteeing its sustainability. With its impactful achievements, the project has set a precedent for future prehabilitation efforts, promising continued care improvement for advanced ovarian cancer patients.
Project Title Prehabilitation pathways for patients with advanced ovarian cancer
Project Lead & Pilot location - Dr Stephen Dobbs, Consultant Gynaecologist & Gynaecological Oncologist Belfast City Hospital – Northern Ireland
Inequality Criteria - Age, minority groups and location
Objective Criteria – Improve survival rates & access to care as well as improve patient experience