Donegal store offers invaluable service for those who have had breast surgery

Columnist: Women's Lives

Donegal store offers invaluable service for those who have had breast surgery

File picture - vital advice and assistance for women who have undergone breast surgery.

It is a great credit to the staff and management of McElhinney’s who provide a relaxed, cosseted and welcoming atmosphere where time has no place and everything has been considered to the finest detail for women who have undergone breast surgery.
Lorna Mc Ginley, works in the Lingerie Department of McElhinney’s store, Ballybofey and has a great understanding of the needs of women. Lorna is one of a dedicated team of staff who have developed a caring, sensitive and community driven service for women in Donegal and beyond.
Their wealth of knowledge and experience has been developed over the past nine years of travelling to Dublin and England for training, learning from professionals, and upskilling on a regular basis.
Emotionally, psychologically and physically affected by their surgery holistic care, whether that is received in hospital or after discharge, makes a world of difference to a woman’s recovery.
“Many women speak about the emotional trauma of losing the breast as akin to losing one’s femininity; those treasured memories and closeness when breast feeding; their self- image and self-confidence all comes into question at this very emotional and vulnerable time, post –surgery. The woman is not left alone or at any time has a feeling of being exposed.”

With this awareness women have the option to just walk or to make an appointment. In either case they will be fitted by a highly trained staff member. A totally private and confidential area has been especially created with a wide range of prosthesis and choices of bras to hand.
“We pride ourselves in providing a non-medical atmosphere, with every concern and minute detail of care considered well in advance. From screens, privacy, full length mirror, outer clothing various brands, sizes colours to a numerous choice of breast prosthesis including skin colour and tone ensures every aspect has been considered,” explained Lorna.
The first fitting a woman has is while she in hospital, but making the next move can be very difficult. Lorna then went on to say how “On the first visit with us, the woman shares her history at whatever level is right for her. This sharing builds an understanding and enables a relationship of trust to unfold. A confidential file on chosen prosthesis, bra size etc… is compiled.
While individual continuous care is the optimum these records means any of the team can accommodate the woman”.
Whether the woman has undergone a lumpectomy, mastectomy, double mastectomy, had reconstruction work or required surgery for a breast abscess, the staff is able to advice.
Anyone who is on a medical card is entitled to two bras every year and a prosthesis every two years. Kathleen, a medical card holder, shares her experience, “I had a wedding coming up so I ventured in.
The time and the care they gave me was just amazing, time was no object and they would not let me leave till everything was 100% in their eyes. I left with my head held high and a confidence I hadn’t felt for seven to eight years. They cared so much and were so attentive I felt like a human being and I left feeling I had a whole new life to lead.”
Kathleen went on to explain how it still continues to make a difference. “I no longer have to continually adjust the prosthesis. I am comfortable and confident. Two years on I am due for another fitting and I am looking forward to meeting Lorna and the staff again. It was years after my surgery before I heard about this service and I could not recommend it highly enough, it has been truly life changing.”

Training aid
The staff also provides a training aid ‘a prosthesis that contains lumps’. With the assistance of the staff any woman can go in and using this aid be shown how best they examine their own breasts to detect any lumps or abnormalities.
With October just past and it been Breast Awareness month Lorna would encourage women and especially young girls from 17 years on to call in and ensure they are using the correct techniques to check their breasts on a monthly basis. If you would like to make an appointment telephone 074 9131217.

Citizen's Information

Question: My partner and I are expecting a baby in December. Can I claim the new Paternity Benefit? Are there any other benefits I can claim?

Answer: Paternity Benefit is a new payment for employed and self-employed people who are on paternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). The PRSI classes that count for Paternity Benefit are A, E, H (with the exception of serving members of the Defense Forces) and S (self-employed). Paternity Benefit is paid for two weeks (in one block) and is available for any child born or adopted on or after 1 September 2016.
You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 6 months following the birth or adoption placement. If you are already getting certain social welfare payments, then you may get half-rate Paternity Benefit.
You must notify your employer four weeks before you intend to go on paternity leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed). You must provide proof of the expected date of birth (this is a certificate from your spouse’s or partner’s doctor confirming when the baby is due) or confirmation of the birth if you are applying after the baby has been born. In the case of adoption, you must produce a certificate of placement.
Paternity Benefit is available from 1 September 2016. You can apply online at for Paternity Benefit from 5 September 2016 (your payment will be backdated if necessary).
You must have a Public Services Card to apply for Paternity Benefit.
You can also claim up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave from work (until your child’s eighth birthday - or 16th if they have a disability). Both parents have a separate entitlement to 18 weeks’ parental leave.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Donegal Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Further information is available from any of the 7 Citizens Information Centres in the county: these include Carndonagh 0761 07 5500, Donegal Town 0761 07 5510, Dungloe 0761 07 5430 and Milford 0761 07 5450 or you may call the National Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. Alternatively comprehensive information is available on the Citizens Information website

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

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