The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges for oncology patients, including reduced screening services, treatment delays, altered treatment regimens, remote consultations and not having the support of their carers during outpatient visits and hospital admissions. They have endured this with the dual threat of cancer and COVID-19, having to shield from the people who matter most to them and, in some cases, losing those they love. Patients who have completed their treatment, even years ago, have not been spared these difficulties. This was emphasised when a patient expressed their sadness to me: ‘I don't know how many years I have left and I've spent this one shielding.’
Now shielding has ended, patients may feel nervous about venturing out again, but also want to live their lives, see loved ones and do the activities that they enjoy. Ticking off ‘bucket list’ wishes may be challenging with social distancing and enduring limitations on our freedoms. As nurses, we need to identify ways to help patients to make the most of their lives, which may be limited by cancer.
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