AS demand rises, the Haven needs an extra specialist nurse to work three days a week, providing support and information.

Since opening in 2004, the Haven’s lead clinical post has been its programme manager.

An extra nurse, says Frankie Devereux, will make a “substantial difference”.

The nurse will be on hand to answer questions from clients, either by phone, email or face to face, no matter what stage their cancer is at.

Clients, in turn, can be confident that they are receiving comprehensive, compassionate and trusted information from a qualified healthcare professional.

The nurse will be available to provide information and support to assist people affected by breast cancer along with activities suitable for those affected by other types of cancer.

They will offer guidance on the Haven services and other information on accessing the wider range of patient resources available through other cancer centres, both regional and national.

Specifically, says Mrs Devereux, The Haven anticipates the new nurse assisting in working with patients to provide:

  • One-to-one initial assessments and discussing medical treatment plans, to create an individualised programme of care to support specific needs.
  • Information and emotional support to meet these needs.
  • Answers to clinical queries in person and by phone and knowledgeable guidance for people affected by breast cancer and other cancers.

The nurse’s work with medical teams involves:

  • Building contacts and relationships with the medical community to create regional information and support networks.
  • Representing the Haven and networking with healthcare personnel at key meetings and events.

The Haven uses focus groups, pilot groups, visitor reviews and service monitoring to adapt its support programmes for cancer patients and their families, friends and carers alike.

For Mrs Devereux, the emotional support element alone cannot be underestimated.

This meets the need for reassurance and help to move forward, managing the fear of recurrence and stress, coping with a return to work or simply knowing someone is there.

Then there’s the physical considerations relating to weight and appearance, managing menopausal symptoms, nausea, pain, fatigue and conditions such as lymphoedema, alongside a need for guidance relating to developments in diagnosis and treatments, and opportunities to access peer support.

“We have built strong links between our charity and members of breast cancer support groups who can benefit from the Haven’s services, and are always reaching out to new groups to ensure they are aware that our support exists."