I have been visiting an 86 year old man who was living with his sister in their own property. He had been diagnosed with bowel cancer after an admission to hospital. During his stay the ward staff and explained his diagnosis and made a number of follow up appointments which he had not attended. I was asked by the palliative care nurse if I could attend his next outpatient appointment with him. The gentleman gave his consent to this. During the appointment the doctor explained the treatment options to the gentleman and asked relevant questions about his home environment. She evaluated this information and suggested a short course of radiotherapy as an inpatient. She was pleased that the gentleman had support from an advocate as she had been concerned about him when he was an inpatient. The gentleman accepted this treatment option as it took into account the affect a daily journey to the hospital would have on him. The doctor explained the side effects and provided information that he could take home. I visited him again a few days later to help him go through the literature as he had difficulty reading.
During the advocacy process his sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She had been providing him with considerable support and so it was necessary to arrange respite for the gentleman while his sister was receiving treatment. His sister was pleased to know that whilst she was in hospital he would be receiving 24 hour care and this relieved some of her worry prior to her admission. She has told me that she has found it very difficult because they were both diagnosed so close together.