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[Press Release] People-Centered – an Essential Element of Cancer Care to Complement Healthcare Services in Hong Kong

[For immediate release]

“Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre –
Jockey Club Emotional & Psychosocial Support Programme”

Evaluation on Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre’s Service Model:
People-Centered – an Essential Element of Cancer Care
to Complement Healthcare Services in Hong Kong

 (22nd January 2019, Tuesday – Hong Kong)

In face of the growing ageing population, the annual number of new cancer cases is projected to rise substantially by about 40 per cent in 2030 compared with 2016 figures. Needless to say, cancer support service is going to become one of the most prevalent topic concerning Hong Kong public health system. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust had been supporting Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre (Maggie’s Centre) through the “Maggie’s Centre – Jockey Club Emotional and Psychosocial Support Programme” since 2015, providing cancer support groups,  psychoeducational courses and workshops to people with cancer and their carers, as well as  launching community education to raise cancer awareness among the public. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University released its evaluation study on the effectiveness of the cancer support service model adopted by Maggie’s Centre at the press conference held today at 11:00am at the Duke of Windsor Social Service Building in Wan Chai. Through conducting focus group interviews with 39 Centre users and collecting questionnaires from 250 Centre users, findings suggested that Maggie’s Centre’s service model serves as a good reference for the cancer care community in Hong Kong.  

Apart from medical treatment, emotional and psychosocial support of cancer patients should also be taken as an essential element in enhancing the cancer care services in Hong Kong. Dr. E. Angela Chan, Associate Professor & Associate Head (Pre-service Education) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University said, “The healing impact of the garden, the non-institutionalised environmental setting and the people-centred service approach of Maggie’s Centre have boosted cancer patients’ self-confidence and empowered them to regain life control to face cancer challenges positively.”.

The number of new cancer cases reached a record high in 2016 with 31,468 cases diagnosed, which shows a nearly 4 per cent increase from previous year, according to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry. Dr. Leong Che-hung, Chairman of Maggie’s Centre, said, “To cancer patients, medicines and medical treatments are important, but their emotional and psychosocial wellbeing should also be recognised and properly addressed. Medical practitioners at both public and private settings are too busy to provide emotional and psychosocial support in an in-depth manner, therefore, Maggie’s Centre is here to help complement their services beyond the clinical scope. Maggie’s Centre and hospitals are in partnership to ensure that cancer patients and their families can receive comprehensive and quality cancer care services.”.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has always cared about the health of the general public and attached great importance to resources available to cancer patients and their families by supporting services ranging from cancer prevention to medical treatment. In addition to Maggie’s Centre, the Club also collaborates with different organisations to provide a range of services, enhance public awareness about cancer and ways to reduce its risk. It has also provided funds to improve the standards of medical research and cancer treatment.  

The needs of healthcare services among Hong Kong citizens are immense. As one can imagine, the extremely heavy workload of medical practitioners at both private and public settings implies a very limited consultation time that they can offer to cancer patients and their families, and the time constraint simply compromises the depth and scope of care provided by doctors. A few-minute time does not allow patients and their families to get a deeper understanding about the disease, not to mention if they are able to ask follow-up questions. Consequently, patients may feel uncertain, helpless and anxious.

Nonetheless, Maggie’s Centre provides practical, emotional and psychosocial support for anyone affected by cancer all free-of-charge.  No referrals or appointments are required in order to ensure cancer patients and caregivers are able to receive timely support from oncology nurses, registered social workers and clinical psychologists and gain useful information about cancer treatment, how to cope with symptoms and side-effects, as well as how to maintain balanced diet and a healthy weight. Furthermore, Maggie’s Centre emphasises on emotional and psychosocial support by offering one-on-one in-depth consultation and support groups to help patients walk through their difficult journeys. Maggie’s Centre also organises a variety of therapeutic support programmes such as Mindful Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition Talks, Qigong, Music Therapy and more to address specific physical and psychosocial needs of each patient.  

Mrs. Helen Lui, Centre Head of Maggie’s Centre also mentioned, “One of the uniqueness of Maggie’s Centre is its relaxing and peaceful environment setting which makes everyone who comes in our Centre to feel valued, special and cared for. As a result, their stress and depressive symptoms can be reduced.”. Furthermore, she said, “The number of new cancer cases in Hong Kong continues to grow, while advanced medical technology implies an improving survival rates of cancer patients. For all those patients who have already completed their treatments, the post-treatment sequela should not be neglected. They are likely to get worried about cancer recurrence or may have difficulties in resuming their work and social life.  Some of them might experience chronic and constant pain after surgeries too, which adversely affects both their physical and mental conditions. What is more, carers also face a lot of pressure and challenges when taking care of their beloved one with cancer. They also have emotional and psychosocial needs which should be addressed. In view of this, Maggie’s Centre are here not only for cancer patients, but we also place equal emphasis on supporting patients who have already completed treatments and their families and carers”.   

Three users from Maggie’s Centre also shared their experience at the press conference, Mr. Chui said, “When I was diagnosed with cancer, doctor told me that no medicine can effectively cure my tumour. I was very depressed and my mind went blank! Luckily, nurses here at Maggie’s Centre are readily available to answer my questions and they empower me to face the disease positively.” His wife, Mrs. Chui, said, “As a carer, the pressure that I have to face is heavy too, not just I feel depressed and worried about my husband’s health condition, but I also physically exhausted when taking care of him.”. Another user Ms. Ng, also said, “As a former cancer patient, I benefit a lot from being a Befriender of the Centre, through which I share my experience with others and accompany them on their difficult journey. At the same time I learn how to be a good listener and manage my emotions wisely.”.

About Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre (Maggie’s Centre)

Located next to the oncology department of the Tuen Mun Hospital, Maggie’s Centre is here to provide free practical, emotional and psychosocial support for anyone affected by cancer at any stage, and their family and friends. All services are free-of-charge. No referrals or appointment required.

Our team of professionally-trained staff including cancer support specialist, registered social worker, clinical psychologist and dietitian are on hand to support you with the issues living with and beyond cancer.

Website: www.maggiescentre.org.hk
Facebook: MaggiesCentreHongKong
Instagram: MaggiesCancerCaringCentre

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