As Hertfordshire follows the government’s advice to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, local cancer support centres are reaching out to people living with cancer with a package of virtual support.
The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood has had to rethink its services after face-to-face contact was ruled out during the pandemic.
The determined team at the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre has found safe ways to continue supporting local people affected by cancer, by using their telephone helpline to continue many of their essential services.
Staff are available to answer questions, give practical advice and talk through any concerns callers may have.
Buzz Coster, an information co-ordinator at the centre said: “We are receiving calls from people who are understandably anxious about how the coronavirus will affect their treatment and care. Having enough money to pay the bills and feed a family is a frequent worry for people living with cancer, and the economic impact of COVID-19 is pushing more people into a financial red zone than before.
“We can direct people to the appropriate services for their financial needs, like the Hertfordshire Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service – which is also operating a telephone service – but are also just here for a chat if everything’s getting too much.”
To help people manage feelings of anxiety, members of the complementary therapy team ordinarily based at the centre are offering guided relaxation appointments by telephone.
These include breathing, visualisation, concentration techniques and body-focussed relaxation techniques with sessions guided by each patient’s individual needs.
They are adding new resources to the centre’s website to help people look after their mental wellbeing, including a relaxation CD that is already available.
Specialist emotional support continues to be available from the counselling team, which is operating a telephone-based service as patients continue to follow official advice from the government to stay at home.
The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre has been helping people with living with cancer to access the physical, financial and emotional support they need for over a quarter of a century, having launched its pioneering service in 1993.
Anyone affected by cancer in Hertfordshire, Middlesex and the surrounding areas can contact the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre team by calling 020 3826 2555 Monday-Friday 9.30am-4.30pm) or by visiting www.ljmc.org.
To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support, visit macmillan.org.uk/emergency or call 0300 1000 200.