More than 1 in 3 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Currently, there are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way that often has a life-changing impact on individuals and those close to them.
According to recent research published by Macmillan Cancer Support, there are an estimated 1.8 million people in the UK who have cancer and at least one other long-term health condition which may seriously affect their lives.
The challenges that people are faced with following their cancer diagnosis, such as financial, emotional and physical difficulties, can be extremely difficult to manage which can put further treatment and their mental wellbeing at risk. This is when support from the industry can play a pivotal part in ensuring that those who are struggling are getting the help they need to lead a better quality of life.
Every year, through its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is funded by powerLottery, the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) assists hundreds of people within the electrical sector who have been affected by a distressing cancer diagnosis. This comes in the form of support services, including financial support, telephone and face to face counselling, legal advice, practical assistance and complex case management support.
One example of how EIC can improve lives and provide independence to those who are struggling to cope following their cancer diagnosis is 51-year-old Paula Green. Paula, whose husband had worked for a large electrical wholesaler for many years, was referred to EIC by her husband’s employer after struggling to move around the house independently following a cancer diagnosis and further health complications. Paula was suffering from chronic fibrosis of the lungs and had developed incurable lung cancer, with two tumours in each. Until May 2018, Paula had been receiving chemotherapy, but this resulted in numerous infections and admissions to hospital and it was decided she would stop the chemotherapy treatment. The pain then spread to her back and a shadow was found on her spine. Due to her debilitating condition, Paula had difficulties in moving up and down the stairs without support from her husband. Fortunately, Paula and her husband had a toilet downstairs but were desperately in need of a stair lift.
EIC agreed to fund this but, due to health and safety reasons, the Charity first had to employ the services of an Occupational Therapist (OT) to carry out an assessment and ensure that Paula would be safe to use the lift and determine if there were any other mobility needs that EIC could provide. EIC was also required to contact the housing association to gain their permission. They were very helpful and sent out a surveyor to check the structure of the property. The surveyor confirmed that everything was good to go ahead, and they had no objections for the stairlift to be fitted and also highlighted that Paula was in need of a wet room. The Charity arranged for two quotations for the stairlift and as soon as the housing association agreed to fund £1,500 towards the costs, the Charity fitted the stairlift in Paula’s house to allow her to move around independently. Additionally, the Charity also got in touch with the local council regarding a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which was needed to install a wet room in Paula’s house. The process of applying and obtaining a DFG can be very lengthy, depending on the area in which an individual lives, but where there is a terminal illness this process can be fast-tracked and the OT was very quick in completing her assessment and marking her report as high priority. The housing association gave their permission and the work was completed in two months. Paula was very pleased with the result.
Sadly, not long after Paula was finally able to live more independently, she contracted pneumonia and passed away. Following the devastating news, EIC offered advice and support to her husband during this distressing time. A cancer diagnosis is often overwhelming and adding financial burden to the mix can sometimes make it feel unmanageable, which can lead to a deterioration in an individual’s mental health and have a devastating impact on further treatment and care. Through the Employee Assistance Programme, EIC ensures that those struggling to cope during their cancer journey are getting all the support they need to focus on their recovery and lead more independent lives.
If you would like to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from a terminal illness, sign up to become a partner of EAP or take part in powerLottery for as little as £1 per month by downloading the EIC powerLottery app and tap the app to play.