When I first started this work way back in 2008, there were times that I did wonder if I was the only person who was very unsatisfied with the state of cancer support services outside of the clinical environment. But as time has gone on I am approached by more and more people, both patients and professionals who are finding that they also want to speak out about what should be improved. Many, like me have decided they can have more impact from outside the system, with an independent voice.
There are now so many very experienced people running independent services outside of large charities and healthcare providers. The problem here is that we all struggle when it comes to marketing as most of us have very limited budgets and don’t have the luxury of teams of well paid staff doing that full time. What we do need is decent collaboration so that we can all work together and patients will be able to find the very services that they need. Sure the N.H.S is starved of money and resource, but a lot of what they need is being supplied outside of the service, if they would only look up!
I would like to thank Gemma for writing this piece and explain why she also chose to leave the service and go out on her own. Why she is prepared to go through tough times to ensure that patients get what they deserve.
“I’m writing this blog as I start out on a new venture to help people affected by cancer. It early days but I hope that by writing this I can reach out to other people who are also throwing caution to the wind to improve cancer care. I would love to hear from you if have any advice about launching a new cancer service or would be interested in working together.
The big idea! Having worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS and private sector I have seen time and time again patients undergoing cancer treatment who had not received the advice and physiotherapy that could have helped them manage their cancer treatment and its side effects. Patient who undergo joint replacement surgery are routinely given specific post-operative guidance to the exercises and physiotherapy treatment to maximize their recovery and getting back to the activities they love. For cancer patients, the story is very different. So…. this year I have launched GH Physiotherapy a physiotherapy service designed specifically to meet the needs of people with cancer. I go to people’s home at a time to suit them to provide the PINC program designed to help maximize recovery, regain physical and emotional strength, and improve body confidence and control. It is suitable after any type of cancer surgery or treatment and accommodates all ages, fitness levels and mobility.
The PINC Program aims to help:
- Optimize physical and functional recovery
- Ease pain and muscular tension
- Regain strength and mobility
- Increase energy levels and improve breathing
- Strengthen core muscles and improve posture
- Improve physical functioning and maintain independence
- Reclaim body confidence and control
- Reduce treatment related side effects and
- Shift focus from illness to wellness
Why??? I have been asking myself this a lot as I learn what a huge undertaking starting a new service is. This idea came to me this year as I was planning my wedding and reflecting upon family occasions and family that would not be able to be a part of the most important day of my life. My Granny died of cancer when I was young and sadly I have few memories of her. I do know though that she must have been a remarkable and inspirational woman, working in the women auxiliary air force and going on to raising three strong women, my mum and two aunts. This motivates me each day to help as many people as I can so that each young girl can have her granny at her wedding passing on words of wisdom.
Can you help??? I would like to raise awareness of how physiotherapy and exercise can reduce side effects of the disease and debilitating cancer treatments, and can improve functional ability, quality of life and ultimately, survival. Do you have any fundraising events, meeting or groups I can speak at so more people know help is out there? I am also looking to collaborate with other people working in this area to share experiences and cross refer to when appropriate. And of course if you are living with cancer and would like any advice from me the please get in touch via my website ghphysiotherapy /Twitter @ or via my Facebook page
Also a free Pilate’s session for whoever helps me come up with a better website name! GH Physiotherapy is so dull!!!”
Thanks so much for the above piece Gemma, and if you have any of your own examples of independents using their own experience to help people we would love to hear from you to give them a shout out too!