The Research and Evaluation team at Penny Brohn UK are excited to publish our latest evaluation report concerning our self-management education services to support people living with cancer. I wanted to share our findings with you in my first blog for Realising the Value.

Our report builds on our previous published work and evaluates Penny Brohn UK’s Wellness Package – a service designed to help adults with cancer and their supporters to live well with the impact of cancer, by  providing access to person-centred holistic support for mind, body, sprit and emotions. Crucially, the Wellness Package is a combination of Penny Brohn UK’s Living Well course and additional access to follow-up support. The Wellness Package ensures that Penny Brohn UK clients experience a connected and long-term supportive service, enabling reassurance and reconnection where needed in an individual’s journey with cancer. (Note: This work was funded by the Department of Health’s Voluntary Sector Investment Programme; Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development, from 2014 to 2016.)

Penny Brohn UK’s new evaluation report findings in a nutshell:

The Wellness Package delivered 60 Living Well courses across the UK (reaching 519 people), and provided 12 months’ of follow-up support. Our report looks at the six week and 12 month retrospective experiences of people using our Wellness Package services and presents the following data (please see full published report):

  • Concerns and wellbeing improve after the course: The patient centred outcome measure known as MYCaW (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing ) data showed that people’s concerns and health related quality of life significantly improve after six weeks and this is sustained 12 months after attending Penny Brohn UK’s services. The most common concerns expressed were around needing help with psychological and emotional issues.
  • People are more able to self-manage their health: PAM (Patient Activation Measure) data was collected, showing that people had a significant shift in their “Activation” scores six weeks after the Living Well course. This indicates that people are potentially more able to self-manage their health after the course. Also, when asked directly six weeks after attending the Living Well course, 86 per cent of people reported they were more able to self-manage their condition. People reported that self-management involved juggling key themes of diet, exercise and stress-management techniques.
  • People change the way they use healthcare services: 12 months after the course, healthcare service use data showed a trend to use healthcare services less after accessing Wellness Package services (note: this data is only a trend due to small data set size). Also, 45 per cent of people responding to our evaluation said that their experience of the services had made a positive difference to the way they accessed medical services by giving them confidence to ask questions and make decisions about their care with doctors.

Our new report comes at an exciting time, with building momentum around the need for the health and social care system to link better with the voluntary sector, as outlined in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, and the emerging output from Realising the Value and other publications. We hope that our new report, coupled with similar data we’ve already  contributed  to the economic impact modelling for the Realising the Value outputs, provides useful and tangible evidence that can be of wider use to others seeking to implement self-management education approaches.  We hope, that the results of this evaluation and the wider outputs from the Realising the Value programme, will alert commissioners, across the country, to the huge potential for investing in self-management education, enabling more people to take control of their health and wellbeing and live as well as possible.

Penny Brohn UK is one of the five partner sites selected for the Realising the Value Programme.

If you have any queries please contact helen.seers@pennybrohn.org.uk, Research and Evaluation Lead at Penny Brohn UK.