As part of our integrated cancer care approach, we provide every patient with access to a ‘whole person’ approach, which is made possible through our unique partnership with Penny Brohn UK, the national charity specialising in an integrated and whole person approach to cancer support. Based on research into the connections between psycho, neuro and immunology, Penny Brohn UK has designed a holistic approach to address the needs of people diagnosed with this life-changing disease that is proven to improve outcomes. We are delighted to be able to offer this excellent programme to our patients as part of our commitment to provide the best care possible.
At GenesisCare, we provide holistic care with Penny Brohn UK staff across all 14 of our UK centres* and are currently the only private provider to embed this service as part of an integrated cancer treatment package within the care pathway.
The Penny Brohn UK wellbeing service is available to all patients of GenesisCare receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy on an opt-out basis, at no extra cost to them or their insurance provider. 95% of eligible patients choose to use Penny Brohn UK services while undergoing treatment and 98% say that the service has made a difference to them.
In order to minimise social contact, all hands-on therapies have been suspended. The Penny Brohn UK Wellbeing Consultants and counselling teams are continuing to support all patients remotely.
*Penny Brohn services are available via telephone consultation only at our centres in Birmingham and Guildford
Refer a patient
Patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment at one of our centres will be offered a personalised Penny Brohn UK programme tailored to them. To refer a patient for cancer care or for more information about the Penny Brohn UK wellbeing service at GenesisCare, please get in touch.
The charity has developed The Bristol Whole Life Approach which addresses each part of a person — mind, body, spirit and emotions — recognising that these parts are interconnected and work together to support the immune system. The Living Well with the Impact of Cancer Course (LWC) is based on the principles of this approach to support a person with cancer. It was designed by healthcare professionals, including medical doctors, nutritional therapists and psychotherapists, to run alongside conventional cancer treatments.
The LWC comprises a motivational facilitated 15-hour group intervention, to promote long-term health and wellbeing and support self-management of health, and involves physical, psychological, emotional and support interventions as well as financial and relationship support. After the course, clients are offered therapies and follow-up support to encourage self-care and living well beyond the course. These include:
- Relaxation and Mindfulness
- Shared experiences
- Self-help techniques
At GenesisCare, the wellbeing programme is an evidence-based service and will be delivered as part of the patient’s overall care pathway. This includes:
- A Wellbeing Consultant appointed to each patient
- The patient will undertake a holistic needs assessment with their Wellbeing Consultant using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) assessment tool – a validated PROM that measures an individual’s two most pressing concerns as well as their overall wellbeing
- Through this comprehensive assessment the Wellbeing Consultant will be able to suggest a bespoke package of interventions to help support the patient’s resilience
- The wellbeing service may include reflexology, acupuncture, counselling, relaxation and mindfulness meditation sessions, group-based wellbeing sessions, telephone counselling service and centre-based cancer support groups
As well as offering the therapies, the Wellbeing Consultant will refer the patient to appropriate local services and other sources of support. After the course of therapy sessions, the patient will be reassessed using PROM (MYCaW) and Patient Reported Experience Measure (PREM) tools.
In addition to services within our centres when COVID-19 safety regulations allow, Penny Brohn UK is providing a telephone and online wellbeing support service to all GenesisCare patients.
As part of their overall care pathway, patients will access these online services at no extra cost. Each patient can partake in telephone consultations so that we can understand what additional help is needed to support their health and wellbeing. There are also weekly timetabled online sources of support that can be accessed through Penny Brohn online services. These events cover topics such as:
- Staying active
- Managing stress
In 2018, Penny Brohn UK conducted a report to assess how patients were responding to the Penny Brohn UK Bristol Whole Life Approach as delivered through the Living Well with the Impact of Cancer Course (LWC). In 2018, 89 LWC’s were run with a total of 832 patients and supporters attending. Clients were asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire, six weeks after completing their course, to evaluate their experience.
- Respondents of the questionnaire were split 71% cancer clients and 29% supporters
- 71% of respondents attended courses run in the South West at the National Penny Brohn UK Centre in Bristol
- The majority of respondents were female (77%)
- The ages of clients ranged from 18 to 94 years. Mean age was 55.3
- Approximately 35% of clients have breast cancer
Before we carry out any tests, we’ll ask you to sign a consent form. This simply states that you agree to have the procedure and you understand what it involves. We want to involve you in all decisions about your care and treatment. You can always talk to a member of your care team if you’d like more information about our consent process.
At the start of the procedure, your consultant or radiologist will carry out an ultrasound scan to locate the area where the biopsy will be taken. They’ll clean the part of the body that is going to be examined, before injecting a local anaesthetic to numb the area
Once the local anaesthetic has taken effect, your consultant or nurse will make a very small cut (around 3 to 4 mm) where the needle is to be inserted. An ultrasound probe on the surface of your skin will guide the needle to the correct position. You’ll hear the needle make a clicking noise when a sample of your tissue is taken. Your consultant or nurse will remove the needle from your body after the sample is collected. They may repeat this procedure a couple of times to take more samples for analysis.
When the procedure has finished, your consultant or nurse will apply a small amount of pressure to the biopsy site for five minutes, this helps reduce the risk of bruising. A bandage, such as a steri-strip will be placed over the puncture site and then covered with a sterile, waterproof dressing.
The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) is a validated tool that helps assess the understanding, skill and confidence a patient has in taking care of their condition.
There were statistically significant (p<0.001, Z = -5.009) improvements in PAM scores after completion of the LWC (mean pre-score = 58.1, mean post-score = 61.6). In addition to this,
45.8% of clients made a clinically meaningful change to their PAM score (four or more points improvement).
Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) assessment tool is a validated PROM that measures an individual’s two most pressing concerns, as well as their overall wellbeing. Patients are asked to identify their main cancer concerns at the beginning of the course and again six weeks after the course, to measure clinical improvements There were statistically significant improvements in MYCaW scores.
- Concern 1, p<0.001, Z=-12.197
- Concern 2, p<0.001, Z=-10.072
- Wellbeing, p=0.002, Z=-3.047)
72.6% of respondents made a clinically meaningful change (at least one point improvement) to their MYCaW score for Concern 1, 63.3% for Concern 2 and 45.5% for Wellbeing
In conjunction with the Penny Brohn UK Research and Evaluation team, we continually conduct an evaluation of patient-reported and clinical outcomes for patients undertaking the wellbeing programme. At the beginning of the course, patients are asked to identify their main cancer concerns using a standardised tool, Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW). This assessment is repeated six weeks after the course to measure clinical improvements and also identify any further needs that can be addressed using the Bristol Whole Life Approach.
The PROMS and PREMs data below were collected between 2016 and 2018, from over 700 patients following an integrated Penny Brohn UK care pathway using the MYCaW validated questionnaire.
PROMs (Patient Reported Outcome Measures)
Average Concerns and Wellbeing ratings improved after a course of Penny Brohn UK therapies.
- 67% had clinically significant improvement in their main cancer concerns
- 49% had a clinically significant improvement in their Wellbeing
PREMs (Patient Reported Experience Measures)
Wellbeing Consultant appointments were rated 4.9/5.0 for satisfaction.
Average satisfaction ratings out of 5 for therapies:
- Reflexology – 4.8
- Meditation – 4.7
- Relaxation – 4.7
- Acupuncture – 4.7
- Counselling – 4.6
We’re delighted that the majority of our patients come away from their Penny Brohn UK experience feeling a lot more positive about their life with cancer. Sharon is just one example. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and had access to our Wellbeing Support Service while receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy at our GenesisCare Centre in Milton Keynes.
Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 after finding a lump in her breast. She received chemotherapy and radiotherapy at our GenesisCare Centre in Milton Keynes.
“My breast cancer diagnosis came as a huge shock to me. I didn’t really know how to feel about it all. I just wanted to keep everything as normal as possible for my husband and our two teenage sons.
After I started my treatment at GenesisCare, I was told about the support I could receive from Penny Brohn UK. The centre at GenesisCare was a very calm environment and I immediately gravitated to my Penny Brohn Wellbeing Consultant, Bev. She was warm and open and the first person I was able to really talk to about how I was feeling in a meaningful way.
The Penny Brohn centre at GenesisCare offered me a safe haven when I was being faced with a massive schedule of treatment
- GenesisCare patient
I found a session on mindfulness with Bev really helpful — it allowed me to process the feelings that I couldn’t make sense of before.
Between my sixth and seventh rounds of chemotherapy, my willpower started to dwindle. The steroids were affecting my sleep and making me feel anxious. Bev suggested that I try reflexology and it helped immediately! I had my first good night’s sleep in a long time.
After my chemotherapy, I started 23 sessions of radiotherapy. Through Penny Brohn, I tried acupuncture which helped relieve the side effects I experienced.
Now that my treatment has ended, I regularly keep in touch with Bev. The Penny Brohn service at GenesisCare offered me a safe haven when I was being faced with a massive schedule of treatment. The therapies and support I received not only helped me deal with the side effects, but also gave me emotional resilience and allowed me to be more in touch with myself.”
Download our patient brochure
Patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment at one of our centres will be offered a personalised Penny Brohn UK programme tailored to them. All the relevant information can be found on our website or in our patient brochure.