Kirsty Hastie, a Macmillan specialist occupational therapist, talks about our new service in Bath for people struggling with cancer related fatigue.
Who visits the service?
‘Our service is the first of its kind in the UK. We see anyone over the age of 18 who has had a cancer diagnosis and is experiencing enduring fatigue.
‘Macmillan estimates that 350,000 people experienced cancer related fatigue last year, so it’s a common issue.’
How do you support people?
‘We help people to develop strategies to manage their fatigue and improve their quality of life. Strategies include exploring how to prioritise, plan and pace daily activities so that they can do more of the things that are important to them. And we suggest relaxation techniques and tips to help with sleep.
‘We also use the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy to explore how a person’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations all interact to affect their mood and energy levels.
‘Plus we advise about how the right amount of exercise can help and work with people to incorporate it into their daily routines.’
Do you help loved ones as well?
‘We run sessions that people can bring family and friends to. Here we explain how cancer-related fatigue affects people and how others can support them.
I also do home visits if we identify that equipment or adaptations may be helpful there.
Do any common issues come up?
‘We can offer support in lots of ways. For example, I can meet with an employer or someone from HR on a person’s behalf. And I’ll also write letters suggesting reasonable adjustments are made, as required by the Equality Act of 2010.
What caught your eye about this job?
‘I’ve had experiences of cancer with my family and friends. I know that there’s a perception that after treatment ends everything will be fine. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. The journey doesn’t stop when treatment does. For some people cancer is a long-term condition and I completely get that.’
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