Over the past two months, the service, which previously consisted of face-to-face, guided exercise and fitness lessons, nutritional advice and psychological support to help people lose weight, improve fitness and feel mentally strong and ready for their surgery, has now moved to being delivered online.
Now, exercise advice is delivered through video-guided resistance training sessions, patients receive phone calls twice-a-week from the exercise physiologists and the psychology professionals, and they are also referred on to other virtual support services such as smoking cessation and alcohol reduction services.
The service, which has its own patient feedback steering group to help shape its development, has seen 33 patients since the coronavirus outbreak began. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, not just about the practical aspects of the service, but the mental wellbeing aspects of having regular contact with a healthcare professional to support any feelings of stress and anxiety during the combined situation of coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acting on feedback from the patient experience steering group, stating that receiving this treatment at hospital is more inconvenient than in community venues closer to home, the team is now looking to move this service to a completely community-based programme and next steps include engaging with primary care to see how this can be developed.