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Chemo & coffee: our Patient Supporters

Hospitality at the LJMC is legendary and visitors are used to being offered a cup of tea or coffee when they drop in. They may be less familiar with the hospitality service that our team of Patient Supporters provides next door in the Chemotherapy Suite where, in the last twelve months, they've served up more than 4,000 cuppas.

Coming to the Cancer Centre can be very stressful and the Patient Supporters are here to help. Wearing their yellow ID lanyards and beaming smiles, they provide a warm welcome to visitors.

You'll usually spot them in the Reception area of the Cancer Centre, meeting and greeting visitors. They help people checking in for their appointments and provide information about the site. They also offer an invaluable signposting service, giving directions to different parts of the hospital or, more usually, taking people to their destination.

"Although it's not a large hospital, it's very spread out," they explain. "When someone's already stressed out, it's much nicer to take them to where they need to be, instead of giving them confusing directions. Just chatting as we walk along helps them unwind and relax too."

Patient SupportersMidway through their shifts, they will head over to the Chemotherapy Suite to serve refreshments to patients. This service is greatly appreciated and the Patient Supporters enjoy it too. "The Cancer Centre is always such a bustle of activity so it's good to be able to spend a bit of time with people", they told opendoor. "Just passing the time of day while we serve tea and coffee can make the experience of receiving chemotherapy just a little bit nicer for people."

Clive and Marie have been working as Patient Supporters since the service first started. They each saw articles in their respective local papers and were attracted to the role for different reasons.

"To be strictly honest," jokes Clive, "it was my wife who thought it was a good idea. I'd recently retired and she was fed up with finding me under her feet all the time. I didn't know what to expect and, in a way, I still don't, because each day is totally different. However, I do wonder why I didn't volunteer earlier. I work with a fabulous bunch of people and it's great!" Patient Supporters outside the Chemotherapy Suite

Marie had been at home, bringing up her family, for many years. She saw volunteering as a way of dipping her toe into the employment market again. She told opendoor, "I had absolutely no confidence. Some days I struggled to remember that I had a name because, to most of the people in my life, I was 'Mum'. Now I really look forward to Wednesdays when I'm at Mount Vernon and I'm Marie again."

Both Clive and Marie get enormous satisfaction from working as Patient Supporters. "It's a lovely, sociable job," they claim. "We get such appreciative comments and thanks from patients and staff alike. If we can brighten the day for people, we've done a good job."




Last updated: May 10, 2017

Patient Supporters



This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of the LJMC newsletter, Open Door.