McGrath Foundation has increased the hours of its Breast Care Nurse Telephone Support Line in response to growing demand from breast cancer patients during COVID-19.
The service, manned by specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurses, is now open on Saturday and Sunday on top of the regular weekday service and provides free support to anyone with breast cancer.
McGrath Foundation CEO, Holly Masters, said the expansion of the service will provide more support for breast cancer patients at a time they need it most.
“We know people with breast cancer are dealing with heightened confusion and anxiety in the context of COVID-19 and what it means for their treatment, so in response we’ve increased our Breast Care Nurse Telephone Support Line service, which is now available seven days per week,” she said.
“Anyone with concerns about breast cancer or how COVID-19 will impact them can call our Telephone Support Nurses, Pip and Sally, for support and information,” Masters continued.
The McGrath Foundation also has 143 McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia who are continuing to support patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The role of our nurses in supporting patients is critical, now more than ever. They are the ones who have the whole view of the patient and can help to navigate them through a system that’s evolving rapidly,” Masters said.
“In many instances our nurses are spending more time with patients, often providing increased psycho-social support as they work through the complexities presented by this pandemic,” she continued.
While all McGrath Breast Care Nurses are continuing to support patients, the way this support is delivered may have been adjusted due to COVID-19, with many nurses connecting with their patients through Telehealth to support social distancing.
Anyone with breast cancer seeking support can reach out to the free McGrath Breast Care Nurse Telephone Support Line on 1800 183 338. The line is open seven days a week between 9am – 5pm.
Alternatively, people can reach out to their local McGrath Breast Care Nurse by searching for their closest nurse at mcgrathfoundation.com.au. This support is available entirely for free and a doctor’s referral is not required.
Specialist breast care nursing support only a phone call away
McGrath Breast Care Nurses, Pip and Sally, are the specialists manning the Breast Care Nurse Telephone Support Line and they are ready and waiting for your call.
With many years of breast care nursing experience between them, they support people diagnosed with both early and metastatic breast cancer.
Pip has over 40 years’ experience as a Registered Nurse in Australia and the UK, and previous experience as a breast cancer telephone support nurse for pharmaceutical companies. She has a Midwifery Certificate and a Certificate in Breast Cancer Disease Entity in Nursing Practice and spent many years supporting mastectomy and breast reconstruction patients at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Pip provides telephone support from the McGrath Foundation headquarters in Sydney, Monday to Friday, and says ensuring patients feel understood is essential.
“On the support line, people talk about anything and everything; today they may seek emotional support, tomorrow they may need practical support. Some are sad and need to express their loss, others feel angry and just want to vent to someone who will understand and listen patiently,” she said.
“Treating people with respect and compassion during a challenging time in their life while providing information can help these people to relieve unnecessary worry and encourages self-confidence,” Pip continued.
Sally will be manning the Breast Care Nurse Telephone Support Line over weekends. She has been a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in Gladstone, Queensland since 2017, a Registered Nurse since 1994 and holds Psychiatric and Cancer Care Post Graduate qualifications.
Sally is passionate about her role and supporting and nurturing her patients and their families.
“A breast cancer diagnosis can be a very confusing time as people feel they are facing the unknown. My aim is to ensure patients feel empowered with the right knowledge and to guide them through their treatment plan with courage,” she said.
UPDATE: The McGrath Foundation Breast Care Telephone Service, manned by specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurses, has returned to original hours of operation. You can reach Pip and Sally Monday – Friday between 9am – 5pm.