Having a diagnosis of cancer can affect you and your family in many different ways. Very often physical signs and symptoms are around treatment and side effects resulting from surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  

At The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre we are committed to supporting your individual needs and listening to your concerns. We can help by signposting you where to go for additional support and advice. Your healthcare professional should give you time to talk about any issues or concerns that you may have. A healthcare professional might be a doctor, nurse or a cancer support worker.

This discussion is called a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA).

What is a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)? 

Holistic Needs Assessment is performed by the team caring for you and is an opportunity for you to discuss what is important to you. It focuses on you as a 'whole' person not just your cancer diagnosis and treatment. It can also be helpful to show you what help and support is available.

It is about making time for yourself and your healthcare professional to talk about how you are feeling and coping in general.

This discussion might include concerns such as:

  • Practical help
  • Physical concerns
  • Financial concerns, benefits advice, insurance or work related issues
  • Family and relationship issues
  • Body image concerns
  • Social concerns
  • Spiritual concerns

What does it involve? 

It involves:

  • A simple check list to identify your concerns
  • A discussion with your healthcare professional
  • A written care plan created by you and your healthcare professional. This can include information for you to take away or a referral to other services which may be beneficial to you 

Do I have to have this assessment?

Having a Holistic Needs Assessment is not compulsory and at the time it is offered you may not have any concerns. Not completing one will not affect your care or follow-up.

However, many patients find it beneficial as it can identify additional help and support.

When will a Holistic Needs Assessment be offered to me?

A Holistic Needs Assessment may be offered at certain times during your care including:

  • Around the time of your diagnosis or the start of treatment
  • At the end of your treatment – that might be on completion of your surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy in a post-treatment consultation
  • Any time you ask for one

The Holistic Needs Assessment can be completed by you electronically online, over the telephone with your healthcare professional or in a face to face consultation or a combination of both.

You can discuss with your healthcare professional what would be the best way for you to complete the assessment.

Once you have completed the Holistic Needs Assessment along with your healthcare professional, a Care Plan will be formalised and you will be given or sent a copy. 

Can I ask for a Holistic Needs Assessment?

If at any time during your treatment you feel you need to talk to a health care professional as you have some concerns or unanswered questions, please feel free to ask.

You can contact your specialist team to request a Holistic Needs Assessment. It may be any stage during your treatment or when you attend an outpatient appointment. 

Where can I get further information?

Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centres

  • Main foyer, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Liverpool, and
  • Main foyer, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral

Provides a drop-in service with written support and practical advice for patients, family and carers. Also provides information regarding specific types of cancer and local support groups, health, well-being and lifestyle advice.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm (09:00-16:00)

Macmillan Cancer Support

Provides written information, gives practical, social, and financial support for patients, families and carers.
Tel: 0808 808 00 00 

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 8:00pm (09:00-20:00)

Cancer Research UK

Provides information about cancer, clinical trials and research.
Tel: 0808 800 4040

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5:00pm (09:00-17:00)

Maggie’s Centre

Based in grounds of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre - Wirral.

Provides a drop-in service for patients, families and carers giving practical and emotional support. Benefits / financial advice. Specific cancer support  groups.

Courses in self-help, moving on after a cancer diagnosis, yoga, relaxation, mindfulness, body image, art and drum therapy, creative writing and how to write a will.
Tel: 0151 334 4301

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5:00pm (09:00-17:00)​​​​​​​