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Voluntary sector involvement alongside NHS crucial to enhance patients’ quality of life

Speaking at the inaugural Cancer Nursing Practice conference in Manchester, Sinead Collins discusses how Maggie's centres can help with rehabilitation in patient-centred care

Speaking at the inaugural Cancer Nursing Practice conference in Manchester, Sinead Collins discusses how Maggie's centres can help with rehabilitation in patient-centred care

Complementary, not competing voluntary sector services are crucial to enhance patients quality of life, a Maggies Centre spokesperson told delegates at the conference.

Sinead Collins, centre head at Maggies Manchester, told nurses at the Cancer Nursing Practice Conference that patients often feel excluded and frightened when clinical treatment ends and spend their nights awake worrying about issues such as work and side effects.

However, the network of 18 Maggies centres in the UK, abroad and online, aim to offer a person-centred approach and to fill a gap the NHS is often not best placed to do, explained Ms Collins. The focus is more on what matters to patients rather than

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Speaking at the inaugural Cancer Nursing Practice conference in Manchester, Sinead Collins discusses how Maggie's centres can help with rehabilitation in patient-centred care


Maggie's centre in Manchester. Picture: Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

‘Complementary, not competing’ voluntary sector services are crucial to enhance patients’ quality of life, a Maggie’s Centre spokesperson told delegates at the conference.

Sinead Collins, centre head at Maggie’s Manchester, told nurses at the Cancer Nursing Practice Conference that patients often feel excluded and ‘frightened’ when clinical treatment ends and spend their nights awake worrying about issues such as work and side effects.

However, the network of 18 Maggie’s centres in the UK, abroad and online, aim to offer a person-centred approach and to fill a gap the NHS is often not best placed to do, explained Ms Collins. The focus is more on what matters to patients rather than what’s the matter with them and provides a way to connect and meet others. Maggie’s centre services allow more time and space to deal with their individual needs and concerns. The centres provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, and their family and friends.  

Maggie’s was started by a couple who were trying to cope with cancer. After terminally ill Margaret Keswick Jencks found the architecture of hospitals disheartening, the designer and her husband Charles Jencks set out to provide comforting spaces for cancer patients that ultimately never allowed people to ‘lose the joy of living in the fear of dying’, Ms Collins said.

The interior of each centre provides an informal setting, offering larger rooms for group support, views to the garden and quiet spaces for sensitive conversations. Working in partnership with the NHS, cancer networks, local hospices and other cancer hospitals in the areas, Maggie’s centres work with clinical nurse specialists and clinical teams once a centre is open.

The drop-in model has seen 13,000 visits over the past 80 years and half of visits are following recommendation from medical teams.  

Service user Mark Haskins, who used Maggie’s Swansea centre, said being around people who had different forms of cancer or were recovering from it opened his eyes and made him feel less alone. 

What attendees of the CNP conference had to say
Cathryn Turner, clinical research nurse for breast cancer, at The Christie Hospital

‘Attending was easy since the conference was being held next door to my hospital, but I would’ve come regardless as there were several sessions I was particularly interested in.

‘These were on nurse competency and patient experience, as well as the one on advances in immunotherapy.

‘It’s been a great opportunity to increase my knowledge as well as learn more about the different pathways for patients and how we can improve the journey for them.

‘Sharing best practice and networking is also always welcome.’

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