Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia are red blood cell conditions which have profound medical and psychosocial implications across the life span of affected patients and their families. Our psychology service is integrated, comprehensive, and complements medical treatment and nursing care provided for patients. The framework allows service provision that is:
- Hospital and community based
- Age appropriate - paediatric, adolescent and adult
- Evidence based.
Psychological support is included in the routine package of care offered to patients and families with sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. We routinely assess all patients attending the outpatient clinics using a wide range of standard psychological screening tools. We also fully assess patients before they are offered any psychological intervention in the hospital or in the community. Follow-up of patients and families in the community is an essential part of our service, especially when they do not present in the hospital.
The main objectives of our interventions are to:
- Alleviate suffering resulting from severity of symptoms including pain
- Decrease psychological distress by addressing emotional problems
- Increase coping ability through learning of appropriate and effective strategies
- Help with adherence to medical treatment
- Improve overall quality of life.
Our service comprises the following:
- Psychological assessments for all patients
- Psychological educational group work for children and adolescents
- Transition sessions for adolescents
- Individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions for all patients
- Problem-solving therapy for parents and carers
- Neuropsychological assessments for all patients
- Self-referral and drop in service
- Consultation and school liaison for educational concerns
- Referrals to other psychology services, agencies, and voluntary organisations
- Training for health and allied professionals
- Research and development.
Outpatient clinics and psychology appointments
Our psychology outpatient clinics (both paediatric and adult) run once a week as part of the multidisciplinary Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Clinics at Central Middlesex Hospital. We also offer additional psychology sessions by scheduled appointments, and attend to day care and inpatients at Central Middlesex and Northwick Park Hospitals.