NeuroEndocrine Cancer Australia (NECA) have an established support and information service, encompassing an online and telephone NET Nurse, face-to-face and online support groups, and education forums.
In March 2020, as the impact of COVID 19 became apparent, demands on (and restrictions to) these services increased. NECA responded quickly to implement online activities including a virtual walk, online facilitated support groups and weekly live video broadcasts on key topics. Interventions utilising a variety of online platforms were piloted and will be evaluated for use in the long term.
To ensure access to information and support, a variety of innovative online interventions were employed:
Social isolation is a common issue for those affected by cancer. This heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with concerns regarding vulnerability, access to existing supports and continuity of care. Adjustments to medical care had a significant impact, with increased reliance on Telehealth and resulting challenges regarding technology and communication.
By utilising a variety of online platforms, patients and carers were able to access support and information, helping address uncertainty, answer questions and access ready information.
Expansion of the use of innovative technology has been highly successful. Ongoing analysis will be conducted to identify gaps and further understand patient preferences.