The colorectal team has many members that meet weekly at a multi-disciplinary team meeting (MDT) to discuss and plan the best treatment for you.
The team includes colorectal nurse specialists and nurse Consultant, surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, stoma care nurses, a Macmillan dietitian and a Macmillan social worker.
The team work closely together and you may meet several or all of them at some point during your treatment.
Colorectal Nurse Specialists
The colorectal nurse specialists are your key workers and coordinate your care. They work closely with all members of the team and are the best people to contact if you have any questions about your care including tests and treatments. The colorectal nurse specialists cover the whole week and can be contacted by telephone, Monday to Friday on 01305 253144. There is also an answer phone so please leave a message with a contact telephone number and they will return your call as soon as they can, usually the same or following day.
Lead Colorectal Nurse
The nurse consultant is an expert nurse whose role is focused on the assessment and diagnosis stage of care.
There are five colorectal surgeons in the team and all are experts in bowel surgery and keyhole surgery. They also carry out bowel investigations so you may meet them in the endoscopy department as well as outpatients.
Radiologists are doctors with expert training in interpreting x-rays and scans. They have an important role in assessing how advanced a disease is and whether surgery is possible. They also perform procedures such as biopsies in the Diagnostic Imagine (x-ray) Department.
Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating patients with cancer. These treatments can include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Both oncologists have clinics at Dorset County Hospital. Chemotherapy treatment is given in Dorchester but patients attend for radiotherapy treatment in Poole. Referral can also be made to Exeter Hospital for patients who live in the west of the region.
Patients with bowel problems can lose their appetite and experience weight loss as a result of their disease or their treatment. Also, a special diet may be advised to help manage symptoms and the Macmillan dietitian can provide expert assessment and advice on diet and nutritional supplements. If you feel that you are losing weight or have any problems with eating, please discuss this with your colorectal nurse specialist. They can make an initial assessment and a referral to the dietitian if necessary.
Macmillan Social Worker
The aim of the Macmillan social worker is to help you and your family deal with personal and social problems. Your social worker can:
- help with planning discharges home from hospital
- provide support to you and your family.
- help your family to think of ways to take care of themselves
- arrange some help for you
- arrange some help for someone you normally care for at home
- make referrals to statutory and voluntary community services
- liaise with other services such as Housing Associations
- give help and information about financial issues such as welfare benefits and employment
- assist with claims to charities
You can contact the Macmillan social worker directly by telephone Monday to Friday on 01305 255356. If you prefer you can discuss this with your colorectal nurse specialist who can make a referral for you.
Dorset Macmillan Citizens Advice Service
This is a benefits advice service for people affected by cancer. They provide free, impartial and confidential advice and help with financial problems, benefits, employment issues and housing. They can be contacted on 0845 490 0042.