People with cancer recover faster if they are in better shape at the start of their treatment. Being fit goes hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle: a healthy diet and enough exercise. Both technology and a good partnership between patient and care professional can support someone in learning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But what application works best for whom? How can care professionals best work together with patients? The Oncological Care Research Group is involved in the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out to conduct a series of research on this.
In September of 2021, the living lab started a research area entitled ‘Collaborating to provide accessible care; applied research to implement perioperative and recovery care in the home of people with colon cancer’.
- Perioperative care is the care around surgery. People who are in better shape before their surgery can shorten their hospital stay and resume their life faster. Lifestyle programmes that include food, exercise and mental support help people to improve their fitness.
- Recovery care is care provided by care professionals in the person’s own home environment, tailored to the patient's specific challenges. For people with colon cancer the real recovery only starts after they are discharged from hospital. The care of a physiotherapist, dietitian or other first line paramedic can assist in this. However, these services are not automatically coordinated.
In addition, the Living Lab is working on the research lines 'Five stars at home' and 'Know people with cancer and their loved ones'. Namely: ‘Five stars at home'.
Research projects with students
Graduates and students of THUAS and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are conducting research in a number of projects within the research areas of the living lab. Some examples from the first semester of the 2021-2022 academic year are:
- Students from the Skin Therapy, Nutrition and Dietetics and Nursing degree programmes conduct various studies as part of the Oncology minor they are following. The researchers will use these results to apply for a number of grants for larger projects.
- To see whether the lifestyle programme BeBop, developed by researchers at Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis, can be combined with existing hospital care, Nursing students are conducting an implementation study in HMC Antoniushove. They are identifying the persons involved and studying the barriers and support factors. They are also researching the practical viability and acceptance of the programme by participating patients and their loved ones.
- Students of the Oncology minor are conducting applied research with students from the Hotelschool The Hagueas part of the KIEM project ‘Five stars at home’. They are working within the theme of ‘Promoting the wellness of cancer patients in their own home environment by improving the discharge process from hospital after surgery’.
Partners in the living lab
The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, HMC Antoniushove and the University Cancer Centre Leiden-The Hague are collaborating in the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out, alongside companies, care professionals and patients, to find technological solutions in care. The living lab also collaborates on a project basis with researchers from academic knowledge institutes, including Delft University of Technology and Maastricht University.
The project Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out runs until November of 2024.
- Also read the article 'Living lab students study lifestyle change for faster recovery after bowel cancer'
- Also read the article 'New research: faster recovery for people with bowel cancer'
- On the website of Medical Delta, there is extensive information about the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out