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Other Support Services

Behavioral Health

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment affect the whole person - body, mind, spirit, and relationships - so cancer care must attend to the whole person. Physical concerns, such as pain or fatigue, can worsen emotional and relationship distress. Likewise, feelings of sadness, anger, fear, or confusion can worsen physical problems. The distress is real; it is not “all in your head.” Sometimes our usual way of handling life's challenges does not work like it used to. We may feel overwhelmed, lost, or uncertain how to help ourselves (or our loved ones) to survive. Sometimes we need assistance to navigate around the road blocks life puts in our way.
 
Behavioral health services apply knowledge about the behavioral and psychosocial aspects of health to help patients and their families have fulfilling lives. Behavioral health services are known to decrease stress and increase quality of life for cancer patients and their families. Any adult impacted by a cancer diagnosis can access these services at two convenient locations. Resources and referrals are available for families to assist children who are struggling with a loved one's cancer diagnosis.
 
In the first session, patients can expect to spend approximately 60 minutes describing their current concerns and history to the behavioral health provider. During the first session or two, the behavioral health provider will coach the patient and/or family to a mutually agreed upon treatment plan. Patients or family members participate actively with the behavioral health provider to identify their specific plan. Treatment strategies may include education about mind-body principles, instruction in stress or symptom management practices, relaxation training, or referral to other health care specialists as indicated. For many individuals it can be helpful simply to talk with someone outside the family to explore difficult thoughts or feelings and to gain understanding and wisdom. Regardless of the specific plan, the overall goal is to help patients re-discover a sense of confidence, joy, and meaning.
 
Physical and Occupational Therapy
 
If you have difficulty with any of the following, physical or occupational therapy may be helpful:
Strength
Fatigue
Motion
Pain
Swelling/edema
Walking
Balance
Activities of daily living
 
Therapists at these locations are STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) certified and specially trained to understand therapy needs for cancer patients. Each patient receives a customized treatment program to help you maintain your independence.
 
Your physician will need to refer you to these services. Therapy services are often covered by major insurance plans.
 

Social Worker

 
The Social Worker helps patients and their families adjust to and cope with the many changes a cancer diagnosis can bring. The social worker is available to assist you with the emotional, social, and practical concerns related to your illness. A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and involve a wide variety of reactions. Cancer affects not only the patient but the family and close friends as well. The social worker can provide emotional support and help patients work through these reactions and family matters. In addition, the social worker will offer resources to help patients manage their day to day challenges of living with cancer. Services provided might include assistance with transportation, hair loss, Advance Directives, talking with your children and grandchildren about the illness, education about community resources and financial information. The social worker is an important member of your health care team who is concerned for your quality of life throughout your cancer journey.
 
A patient can expect to meet with the social worker if they wish to do so. You can discuss your concerns with the social worker and together you will develop a plan that will address your needs. You may be referred to services within the Cancer Center or the community. The social worker's goal is to help you and your family manage your cancer related issues and wants you to have the best possible experience at the Center. You may also consider attending the Oncology Support Group which is facilitated by the social worker. This group provides patients the opportunity to meet and talk with others having similar experiences related to their diagnosis and treatment.
 
Your cancer care team at Summa realizes that cancer is not only a medical illness but a life changing event. We are here to assist you with all of your concerns. We want patients to receive the best possible care which is why we address their medical, social and emotional needs.