MacMillan Cancer Support
Julie Summers is a Community Support Worker for MacMillan, working in Fleetwood. She updates us on the support available from the local Macmillan team ...
A percentage of Macmillan Centres have been closed since the start of the pandemic but we have kept open throughout for emotional and practical support as we are situated in the Haematology/Oncology clinic and as some patients are still attending clinic appointments we felt it was only right that we were available for patients and their families to access support. It has been particularly hard for patients to have received a cancer diagnosis during these last few months as they have felt isolated and worried about coming into hospital for surgery, treatments and they have been worried about finances and how they are going to manage. We have a weekly Triage with one of the Clinical Psychologists where we discuss all of our new referrals.
We have been following national guidance to keep our staff and patients safe and have been strictly following the guidance around the 2m self-distancing. We have not been able to carry out home visits but we have had several face-to-face appointments with patients coming to the Centre to have help filling in benefit forms. At these appointments, we have worn the correct PPE and sat 2m apart. Telephone consultations have replaced face to face consultations which can be hard especially when speaking to new patients as it has been hard to build a rapport with them. Volunteers are self isolating and our cancer buddies are supporting patients via the telephone with support from the Centre.
Literature is still being provided from our clean cupboard. Support groups are suspended however the Centre is still supporting the virtual support groups via Microsoft teams. We are in the process of looking at restarting our “Walk in the Park” support group in Stanley Park when we have carried out a full risk assessment. Meeting with the wider stakeholder’s also continue via Microsoft teams. Social media is communicating important messages re: COVID and changes in cancer services. Staff are also supporting the new Swan suite (Bereavement centre) and working from home when appropriate.
We are also having training this week on “Attend Anywhere” which is a virtual system where hopefully if the patients have smartphones, tablets etc we will be able to speak to them face-to-face. We are just in the process of preparing virtual Health and Wellbeing clinics which I am sure will be of help to our patients and carers.
One of MacMillan's trusted partners is Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Group. This national charity is named because of the difficulty a lot of people have with swallowing . The Swallows was formed by like-minded cancer patients to help and support fellow sufferers and their carers, they are based in and active group covering the Fylde Coast. Support includes regular meetings, held on-line during the COVID-19 emergency.