Cancer patients need better care - Macmillian

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The social care needs of cancer patients are not being met with 11% of patients left constantly or often housebound due to a lack of support, a report for Macmillan has found.

Among cancer patients, 64% have practical or personal care needs, including washing, dressing and cooking.

The research for the report found 7% were constantly or often unable to wash themselves, dress or go to the toilet.

The report also found that 61% of people caring for someone with cancer experience some form of impact on their lives while 8% are given a carers assessment.

The report also found that 76% of those with personal and practical care needs received help from family and friends while 30% received formal support such as social care from their local authority.

The lack of support for practical or personal needs was found to lead to 15% of cancer patients having to make unplanned or emergency visits to hospitals.

The report, Hidden at Home - the social care needs of people with cancer, included an online survey of 1,037 people with cancer, 24 in depth face-to-face interviews and 15 week long online diaries.

Another report for Macmillan, Can we live with how we're dying? found that a comprehensive package of community support at the end of life is on average £145 per day.

Lynda Thomas, interim chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "There is a growing recognition that social care is often vital for people living with long term conditions.

"But unfortunately people with cancer have been highlighted as a group that already have all of their needs met by the NHS, because they are thought to be purely medical in nature.

"Today's findings debunk this unfair myth. They show that people with cancer have needs which are far more widespread than we had even realised and that sadly the health and social care systems are too often failing to provide people with basic support."

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