Books supporting Patients, Carers and Family

Project team:
Library Manager, Project lead
Enquiry Services Librarians
Living with Cancer Manager
Chaplaincy Coordinator
Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre
Macmillan Dementia Nurse Consultant

Resources required: Initial funding for books: £2000; Staff time to collate book lists & order books; Monitoring system using feedback forms; Timeframe – 8 months to get it fully running.

“The story”
The Christie has a Cancer Information Centre (CIC) which supports patients, families, friends and the general public with finding cancer information and services to meet their needs. The Library team began talking with the CIC in September 2016, discussing ways in which we could work together. We began by offering to supply information and carry out searches for patients and in passing mention the provision of some books.

A small bid opportunity arose and we discussed it with the service and put in a bid for £2000 to the Healthcare Libraries Unit which was successful. We felt that we could extend the offer to include the chaplaincy, dementia services and offered an opportunity to satellite Christie services. Oldham@Christietook up the offer.

The Enquiry Services Librarians put together some lists of books based on the Macmillan and Cancer Research UK lists, books on prescription lists plus recommended books by project members and patients. This was priced up and 4 collections of books were purchased.

Simultaneously we contact the Lead Nurse for Infection Control as it was suggested the chaplaincy might want to use the books on wards. Would there be an issue? Luckily, a pragmatic approach was taken and every book has a sticker reminding people to wash their hands after using the book.

Once the books arrived, they were divided up, stamped, return stickers and infection control stickers were added. Where possible books were covered with wipeable covers. We created a small impact sheet that could be added to the book when loaned or used and sent back to us as part of our monitoring of how successful the project was.

We discussed if the books should be on our catalogue. The chaplaincy books were going to be used by volunteers and a number were colouring books so we decided not to. There were only a relatively few dementia books which again would be used with patients by volunteers rather than borrowed, so likewise they were not catalogued. We decided that the books supplied to Christie@Oldham would be given to them to manage however they wanted, with the proviso that they would let us have any feedback.

The CIC books did go on the library catalogue as a discrete collection and they simply send a weekly report of books borrowed and returned, which we then transfer to the catalogue giving us usage data.

On the day we delivered the books to the Cancer Information Centre, the first book went out and we received the following excited message
“Just to let you know that the first book has gone out!! The patient thought it was a fab idea and she took one of the nutrition books”

Alignment to local, regional and national drivers:
One of the key drivers for the Library service was the Knowledge for Healthcare requirement to support public and patient information needs which feeds into LQAF
Core criteria 5.3l for 2017: ‘LKS are developed to support information provision for patients and/or public’

Within the Trust itself we refer to The Christie Experience and anything that enhances the patient experience helps meets this strategic goal of the organisation.

Impact of this project/service for the customer/organisation/library: 
Currently we only have detailed information from the Cancer Information Centre.
Customer: the following quotes have been fed back to us
“what a great idea – I would just like a book to read whilst I am having my chemotherapy today”
“Can I really borrow these books and take them home to look at? That is a good idea as I wanted to read more about nutrition and diet so that I can help myself during treatment”
“I’m an inpatient at the moment and borrowed this book to read in the garden, I really liked it and will buy my own copy!’
“I have never really enjoyed poetry anthologies but this was different – I engaged emotionally with so many of the poems”
“A very inspiring book – excellent recipes to try and an all-in-one book giving handy tips which saves carrying a lot of booklets. A good bedtime read”
Statistics borrowed from the CIC:
1/5/17 – 1/8/17 – 39 loans (total titles = 98)

Organisational impact: Patients are better informed, with a feeling that the Trust supports their broader needs, not just their clinical needs.

Impact on the Library Service: It has helped develop our relationship with the Cancer Information Centre and helped us fulfil the broader aim of the service to improve patient care. This project is to be highlighted to the Board by the Medical Director as an example of the impact of the Library Service. It has also given us the opportunity to develop connections with the Christie Oldham staff.

Lessons learned:
Early contact with Infection Control: We were lucky that Infection Control saw the benefits of the project. In some hospitals books are not allowed on wards. It is important to have this group on board for a project like this

Problems with Chaplaincy: The Chaplaincy has not been able to get the project launched yet. After discussion with the Library Manager, they are going to look to use a volunteer in the Teenagers and Young Peoples group to start the project off. This will be helped by a talk on books on prescription to this group by the Library Manager

Dementia: Unfortunately, we have one person who does all the development around dementia in the Trust and she has been off long term sick so we have been unable to launch this collection. Currently there is little that we can do to move this forward

Catalogue and Library Thing: Initially we looked at using Library Thing so the CIC could issue the books via this but we quickly realised that it would involve a lot of work on their behalf and it was easier to do a weekly report to us to mark up books as being on loan.

Sustainability / next steps? We want to expand our offer to the other @Christie sites using the Oldham@Christie experience. We will need to source funding but feel that this will be possible as this has already proven to be a success

Contact details:
0161 446 3456

Date case study completed: 21/8/17


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