Skin Holistic Assessment
For some people with skin cancer the treatment is simple and getting back to normal afterwards is relatively straightforward. However, for others a diagnosis of skin cancer can affect every part of their lives. Every person has their own individual needs. That’s why you may be offered a discussion with us so that we can find out as much as possible about your individual concerns. It is an opportunity to raise your personal issues and worries. We can then put together a plan of care so as to give you the help that you need. This discussion is also called a holistic needs assessment.
You will be offered time with the health care professional that has a role in co-ordinating your care (your key worker) this will often be the clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
You may be offered a holistic needs assessment around the time of your diagnosis, at the end of your treatment, or your health professional may suggest a discussion at other times. You can of course contact your key worker at any time if you require further information, advice or support.
Speaking to a health care professional can help you to look at different areas of your life to see where help can be offered to address specific concerns. It is also a chance for you to get information and support. Help from other services can also be arranged if appropriate. The focus is on you as a person – not just your illness.
The assessment is usually very informal and conversational in style. Topics covered include:
- Physical effects - symptoms, problems with wounds, mobility, fatigue, pain
- Emotional concerns - worries about the future, uncertainty, relationships, mood
- Family matters - concerns about talking to family, friends or children, worries about genetic risks
- Job or money worries - balancing work and treatment. Benefits, insurance
- Treatment/tests - concerns about side effects, risk and benefits, scarring and body image
- Practical issues - timing of treatment, holidays, transport, appointments
- Spirituality - your faith, religion and beliefs and any impact this may have on you.
- Future care - planned follow up, looking after yourself between clinic appointments, self examination and sun protection.
You may wish to prepare in advance by making notes and thinking about questions you’d like to ask. A self assessment form may be given to you to help you to focus on the issues that are affecting you; you may be sent this in advance or asked to fill this in before the meeting.
Some things that you may want to think about before your appointment
- Are you having any physical symptoms or side effects from your skin cancer or the treatment?
- Do you have concerns about your scar or other problems with your appearance (body image)?
- Are you confused about anything relating to your diagnosis or your treatment?
- Do you need help or information with finances, work or insurance?
- Do you need help with any emotional effects like anxiety, worry or low mood?
- Do you need information about lifestyle changes such as sun protection, diet, smoking or exercise?
- Would you like to know more about local services, support groups or help lines?
These are only suggestions and some of them may not be relevant to you. You should feel comfortable to discuss anything that concerns you.
Let your health care professional know if you would like a family member or a friend with you, if you need an interpreter or if you have any concerns about the holistic assessment process itself.
An assessment is offered to every patient. You may find an assessment helpful to show you the support that is available. However, if you do not wish to have an assessment there is no pressure to do so.
If you choose not to have a holistic needs assessment you are still able access support and information. You can also discuss your needs at any time with any of the professionals involved in your care.