Support services 

We recognise that being diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumour will be a difficult time for you and those close to you. As a specialist brain tumour service we provide expert medical and nursing care, but we also have a number of support services that will provide you, and your family, with information, advice and support during this difficult time.

  • Supportive care

    There are a range of additional services to support patients and their families from the time of diagnosis through to longer term follow up including the clinical nurse specialists, allied health professionals and palliative care.

    Patients meet a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) when they have a stay in hospital or at a clinic appointment. The nurse specialist acts as a 'keyworker' and is a point of contact for patients and members of the multi-disciplinary team who they work closely with. They can provide additional information, advice, support and counselling for patients and their families. Specialist nurses are able to make referrals to other supportive care teams both within the hospital and in the wider community such as therapy teams, trained counsellors and community palliative care services.

    Patients at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) have access to our specialist therapy team, including occupational therapists, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. The therapy team provides specialist assessment and rehabilitation during admission and referral on to community therapy services for patient with ongoing needs.

    Our neuro-oncology palliative care service is led by a dedicated neuro-oncology palliative care consultant and is a unique service nationally. Patients can be referred to the service anytime during their disease trajectory. Patients are seen at both NHNN and UCLH and there is a dedicated neuro-oncology palliative care clinic.

    There is a visiting 24 hour on-call service providing urgent assessment for patients with unstable or deteriorating symptoms who are within our catchment area.

  • Macmillan Support and Information Service

    Patients attending UCLH and NHNN will have access to the Macmillan Support and Information Service (MSIS), located on the ground floor of the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre.

    Here the experienced team of NHS staff and trained volunteers provide emotional support, information and practical advice, whether you’re a UCLH patient, family member, friend or carer. They offer welfare and benefits advice, so that you’ll be able to claim the financial support you’re entitled to. This can be through a referral or in the walk in service. Sometimes people need more specialist psychological support and we can refer you to a clinical psychologist if needed.

    The living room is a calm and relaxing area where you can speak to our helpful staff, meet other people or simply gather your thoughts. The staff and volunteers are here to listen and offer individual, emotional support whatever your circumstances. Please feel free to drop in to talk to someone, have a cup of tea, pick up some free resources or book onto one of our classes.

    You’re also welcome to join our programme of activities aimed at helping to manage your emotional wellbeing and physical symptoms. Group activities include creative art, creative word, relaxation and yoga (pre-booking is often required for the group sessions). Complementary therapies are also available including massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and Reiki. We also run a wig service wig service to all patients treated at UCLH who have experienced hair loss as a result of their condition or treatment.

    For further information, see the Macmillan Support and Information Service.

  • Mount Vernon Hospital patients

    Patients referred to Mount Vernon Hospital will have access to the The Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre for support and information services. Please contact them on 01923 844 014.

  • Complementary Cancer Care Programme

    The Complementary Cancer Care Programme offers a programme of therapies to complement conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

    It does not offer a cure for cancer, and is not a replacement for treatment already being received from other specialists in conventional cancer care.

    The programme offers a patient-centred approach, safely integrating complementary therapies appropriately for symptoms associated with cancer or its treatment. High quality information on the effectiveness and safety of our therapies is always provided.

    The service supports emotional and physical wellbeing for cancer patients and encourages self-help and empowerment.

    Dr Sosie Kassab directs the service supported by other trained healthcare professionals, including a physician, nurses, an occupational therapist, dietitian, physiotherapist and clinical psychologist.

    A programme of care is tailored to each individual.

    The Complementary Cancer Care Programme is based at The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.

    If you think you might like to be seen by the service you should talk to your clinical nurse specialist (CNS), consultant or GP about receiving a referral.

  • Neuropsychology

    Brain tumours and their treatment can cause problems with cognition, mood or behaviour. Cognition includes the ability to learn and remember, plan and organise, solve problems and understand information. Changes in mood and behaviour include depression, anxiety, irritability and mood swings. The neuropsychologist will help to identify and characterise these problems.

    A neuropsychological assessment will assess different aspects of your cognition and behaviour, and will involve asking you to do a variety of paper and pencil tests. The assessment can take up to two hours. It can help explain why certain thinking tasks are difficult for you. This makes it possible to discuss strategies to minimise the impact of any cognitive problems, as well as to offer psychological support and advice to you or your family and help with specific emotional problems, if they are also present.