Staff & patients in their own words

This page allows you to get to know some of the staff who work in the Dimbleby Cancer Care Support and Information Centres at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals.

Dimbleby_160413_61Barbara van der Merwe – former Manager for Dimbleby Cancer Care and Clinical Oncology at Guy’s and St Thomas’

At the Dimbleby Cancer Care Support and Information Centre, we believe in the holistic treatment of patients. There is now evidence that the support and complementary treatments that we offer provide definite benefits for the patient. For instance, aromatherapy can help reduce anxiety in patients recently diagnosed with cancer.
And what the patients say: It’s difficult to quantify results but I can say that these sessions have helped me psychologically, emotionally and physically. They have been a huge help in terms of helping relaxation, being more at peace with oneself after chemo has finished, and helping someone to feel ‘human’ again rather than a victim of cancer.

Dimbleby_160413_20Donna Howlett – Administrator
A lot of people with a diagnosis of cancer feel alone and isolated. The services we offer help them to fight that, to see that they’re not on their own.

And what the patients say: I believe that the services provided for cancer patients and carers by the centre is very valuable. The sessions are professionally run and cater for the needs of users.

And what the patients say: I am extremely grateful to have received those reflexology treatments and certainly hope other long-term carers like myself will be offered the same chance. Thank you so much.

Dimbleby_160413_39Ingrid Emsden-Fox – Complementary therapist

Complementary therapies work in a different way to other treatments and can enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of patients and their carers. It’s also about educating their relaxation response which can help in their daily lives. It’s giving them a tool.

And what the patients say: I think this is a wonderful service and I’m glad I took advantage of it. I have no doubt that it speeded up my recovery and helped me to be positive. I have spread the word to the other cancer patients. Thank you to DCC.

Dimbleby_160413_72Anna Wooder – Cancer Information Officer

Patients with a cancer diagnosis often find it hard to speak to family and friends about their condition. In my role I provide a listening ear and a source of information to help people through a very difficult time. My background is nursing, but working in support and information is a terrific way of making a difference in people’s lives.

And what the patients say: I do believe that many more patients could use the Dimbleby Cancer Centre services and wish I had done so sooner. It has accelerated my recovery, improved the quality of my life and this should reduce the cost of my care.

DCC_070313_23Margaret Evison – Former Trustee and member of the Dimbleby Cancer Care Research Fund Advisory Board, and Former Psycho-oncology support coordinator

Cancer is a disease which affects one so totally, one’s sense of self and one’s place in the world. Patients feel battered by the disease personally, and the presentations can be very complicated, where people are expected to put up with things that seem beyond what a person can be expected to endure. At a personal level, I like the idea of being able to help people who are caught in unbearably difficult situations – both patients and their carers – and I like the feeling that they feel they’ve got someone they can talk to who understands their issues and problems.

And what the patients say: Makes you feel like a person again, makes you realise you can feel nice again.

Dimbleby_160413_21Janet Seller – former Counsellor

One of the reasons I applied to work here was the reputation of the charity and the hospitals, and the quality of the psycho-oncology support.. Because you have a whole team of psychologists and counsellors, that means that patients’ and their carers’ needs can be responded to quickly, and for me there’s a privilege about working in a team that can offer that.

And what the patients say: I really appreciated the possibility of having these therapies. It made me feel supported in a whole network of care. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you all.

Jean MeadowsJean Meadows – former Counsellor

One of the most rewarding things I do is to run support groups here. I facilitate the brain group, the T-cell group and the head and neck group. For instance, people with head and neck cancer are often disfigured or have eating and swallowing disorders, or have difficulty speaking. That group is the only place in their life where they are together with people who have similar problems. They don’t feel self-conscious. They don’t feel judged in any way. They’re amongst people who understand.

And what the patients say: I think the Dimbleby Cancer Care Centre is wonderful. It goes alongside the whole ethos of St Thomas’ which I have found to be a caring and nurturing one. Thank you very much.


Other patients quotes

“I think it’s a terrific programme and I was so glad to be able to have the six sessions in all with the same person. She had a real empathy towards breast cancer patients. I also don’t know what I would do without my Dimbleby pillow.”

This is such a welcome break from the routines of hospital life. What a wonderful antedote to be able to receive a relaxing massage for part of the day. Very reviving.

I found the session really relaxing. It helped eased the pain in my back. (cervical cancer patient after back massage on gynaecology ward)

If I had any money I would gladly donate to centres such as this.

Keep the good work going as it helps people who have had surgery to recover quickly.

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