Dr Helen Greally was recently chosen to head up Cancer Care West’s Psychological and Support services expansion programme in Galway city and Western region.
Dr Greally’s new role includes overseeing and directing the support services offered to cancer patients, as well as families and individuals whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Cancer Care West’s main project is currently Inis Aoibhinn, a residence and cancer support centre on the grounds of University College Hospital, Galway (UCHG ). The 30-bed unit provides accommodation to patients undergoing radiotherapy and their families.
A range of complementary therapies are also provided including psychological services, counselling, yoga, nutrition workshops, advice on benefits, relaxation and stress management courses, and creative writing and art.
The aim, according to Dr Greally, is to provide support both to patients and those caring for them. “We see our service as complementing what happens in UCHG, and we work very closely with the medical staff there. Our main line is support to anyone who is affected by cancer, and we offer the service equally to everyone. It is a free and confidential service, and we rely on donations and fundraising.”
Dr Greally would encourage anyone in the region who is affected by cancer to drop into the centre, which opens five days a week from 9am to 5pm.
Cancer Care West also operates a drop in service in Roscommon town on the third Monday of every month, at Vita House, Abbey Street, Roscommon. There are plans to further extend this outreach service across the HSE West region during the coming year.
According to Dr Greally, there are a number of ‘peak’ times when people seek the assistance of Cancer Care West. “When people are initially diagnosed they are in shock and frightened. Then when people are treated and free of the disease, there is fear that it will recur. People also come to us if their diagnosis changes and they may not have any hope of getting better.”
Dr Greally has over 28 years’ experience working with people with a variety of psychological difficulties including the demands of physical illness, particularly cancer, and the adaptation required to cope with this life event.
For the past three years, she has been involved in a research project in the NUIG Psychology Department examining the influence of psychological intervention with women suffering with breast cancer.
In conjunction with the appointment of Dr Helen Greally, Cancer Care West’s new support centre services have recently been launched at 72 Seamus Quirke Road.
Cancer Care West serves cancer patients and their families from all over the West of Ireland, including counties Galway and Roscommon. All are welcome to drop in or use the free and confidential services.
For further information call (091 ) 545000 or (091 ) 540040.