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Macmillan/Headway Support Workers
Headway West Midlands have teamed up with Macmillan to provide an innovative new service supporting people affected by an acquired brain injury where there is also a cancer diagnosis in the family.
Two Macmillan Case Workers provide support to people across Birmingham and Solihull who either have an acquired brain injury and a diagnosis of any form of cancer themselves, or where the carers of those with a brain injury who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Headway went to Macmillan after identifying that people who are affected by an acquired brain injury who are also affected by cancer can have multiple complex problems.
Depending on how serious the damage from an acquired brain injury is, and which area of the brain is affected will depend on the impact, but it can result in physical, emotional, intellectual or social problems.
In addition to trying to come to terms and understand the issues around the brain injury they then also have to manage the implications of the cancer diagnosis, either on themselves or their carer. The brain injured person may lack insight and find it difficult to understand what is happening. This could lead to difficulty coping emotionally, stress, and depression, possibly leading to further illness.
The Macmillan Case Workers work with these families to provide individually tailored support around all aspects of a cancer diagnosis and acquired brain injury and to address a wide range of issues and complex needs.
Issues they provide support with can include:
Offering accessible cancer information to ensure those accessing the service understand treatment choices and side effects
Support with employment, housing and financial issues. This is often a problem as both the carer and brain injured person may have lost their jobs due to the brain injury and families often need housing adaptations or re-housing.
Emotional support - If the brain injured person is their partner/wife/husband, the person affected by cancer may be unable to turn to them for support with their cancer. Often the focus is on the person with brain injury, who may be demanding, with high dependency needs. This can make the person affected by cancer feel that they should cope and that they are not as important so they may have significant emotional support needs.
Signposting people to the appropriate support services and support them to attend appointments. The person affected by cancer may have to care for the brain injured person full time which can then impact on them looking after themselves properly and being able to attend appointments easily.
For more information about the Macmillan Support Service, please telephone: 0121 457 7541 (option1) and speak to Sharon Savage or Sue Ward