The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust has collaborated with Careology to develop an app that delivers emotional wellbeing support to young people during cancer treatment.
The app is funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and gives access to content that is specifically targeted to teenagers and young adults.
The content was co-developed by 16-24 year-old patients and their clinicians. Representatives from The Royal Marsden’s Teen and Young Adult (TYA) Youth Forum were paired up with a clinician to ensure that information both appealed to the audience and was factually correct.
A number of topics were identified as being most important to young people to help inform the content. App users can access useful information around managing symptoms, fatigue, body image, food and nutrition, and mental health support specifically focused around dealing with anxiety.
Careology’s patient-facing cancer care app was selected by the Youth Forum for the basis of The Royal Marsden’s offering.
As well as the targeted information the app also include symptom tracking features which enables young people to record and the symptoms and feelings they’re experiencing. They will then be shown personalised and age-specific content via the app, including peer-to-peer advice, tips, recipes and articles.
Emma Thistlethwayte, teenage and young adult lead nurse at The Royal Marsden, said: “Incorporating the patient voice was very important to us, and the tools and resources in the app will support and empower patients to contribute to their own emotional wellbeing and overall health.”
Careology plans to share the content in the app with other hospitals wishing to help TYA cancer patients.
Paul Landau, CEO of Careology, added: “Going through cancer at any age is incredibly tough but when you’re young and missing out on school or social activities it’s especially hard.
“It’s been great to be able to codesign and develop the app in a way which specifically works for this group of patients at The Royal Marsden. We want every young adult who uses the Careology app to feel more informed and empowered with access to digital support whenever and wherever they need it.”
A similar collaboration between Help for Heroes and Kooth last November resulted in children and young adults from the armed forces community were provided with access to mental health support online.