Bringing back the dignity for BAME patients

A new project to support patients undergoing cancer treatment

Three half torso mannequins display the BAME wigs

Thanks to our incredible supporters, we’ve recently funded an award nominated project for members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community right here in Nottingham. 

So far the project, which was granted £3,200, has been supported by Aquiline Chivinge MBE, Assistant Director of Nursing at Nottingham Hospitals and Onyinye Enwezor, Development Leaf for Clinical Leadership and Chair of the BAME council to support BAME patients undergoing cancer treatment.

The project began after patients from the community approached Aquiline about the lack of diversity within their wig selection. Aquiline and she decided to investigate through various divisions within the hospital, where she discovered that BAME patients wanted more variety in choice when it comes to wig selection.

Working closely with Onyi, they both approached the Charity for a grant and started looking into hairdressers that could support patients with specifically with wigs that would match their natural hairstyles.
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The BAME Wig examples stand on a table at Nottingham Hospitals
Onyi said:

“Within the African and Caribbean culture, a woman’s hair is her pride but it’s also her husband’s pride and her family’s, so that loss of hair feels like a huge chunk of their dignity is being taken away from them.”

To provide the wigs, Onyi and Aquiline work closely with Alexie Hilton, who owns Elite Nine hair salon in Nottingham city centre, to provide wigs that give a natural feel and closely match the patients’ hair. There now is a wide range of wigs available, which include natural afro wigs, which all provide comfort to patients during a time of uncertainty.

Aquiline and Onyi personally visited Alexie’s salon to ensure that it met the standards of Nottingham hospitals but also was safe to send patients to who are immunocompromised and matched Covid standards during the pandemic.

The project initially started out supporting Oncology patients but has since expanded to support both patients and staff who may be experiencing hair loss due to other conditions and helps them regain their confidence, which may have been lost.
Two members of staff look at a brochure
Onyi continued:

“There are plenty of wigs available to patients but you have to try and get one that suits the person and this can be tricky and difficult. We want to support patients to maintain their dignity regardless of their conditions.

“Hairstyles vary from patient to patient and what might suit one person may not suit another so to be able to work with the patient and tailor their wigs has been very rewarding.

“The project has created awareness and enlightenment about the need for the right hair for a patient from a BAME background and having someone who understands the patient and their culture has had a huge impact on patients.”

The project was a finalist at the 2022 Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA) and they are aiming to be nominated again at next year’s award.

After initial success, the project is now being rolled out to patients who suffer from alopecia and other hair conditions. Aquiline and Onyi are hoping to speak to other NHS facilities across the East Midlands to ensure patients across the region have access to the right wig and the hope is to make this a national scheme for patients across the UK.

We wouldn’t have been able to fund this life changing project without the support of our donors, legacy supporters and fundraisers.

Help us continue to support projects like this by donating today.

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