Social work services are part of the interdisciplinary approach in Oncology. Social workers provide supportive services during the various phases of oncological treatment. Initially, this might entail helping patients and family members cope with a new diagnosis and its emotional impact. Subsequently, supportive counseling is available during the treatment process. Social workers in Oncology also facilitate discharge planning to home, hospice or hospice-like facilities.
Services to patients undergoing bone marrow transplants and their families are also available. A continuity of care is provided which extends from the pre-transplant, transplant, through post-transplant stages. Social workers provide counseling, psycho-education about transplantation and assist with linkage to community resources. They also assist with insurance issues and ensure that patients are discharged home with the appropriate services to meet their post-transplant needs.
Additional support services are also available to patients and their families through the Breast Health Resource Program , the Woman to Woman GYN cancer support program, the Caregivers and Professionals Partnership (CAPP) Caregiver Resource Center, as well as Palliative Care.
- The Breast Health Resource Program (BHRP) offers individual, couple and family counseling; support groups; stress reduction and relaxation techniques; educational seminars; resource referral and management to women and men with breast cancer.
- “Woman to Woman” is a peer support program for women with gynecologic cancer. Volunteer survivors provide emotional support and relevant information to patients on the inpatient floors, at the gynecologic oncology clinic and at all treatment centers.
- The CAPP Program offers supportive services to caregivers of ill or disabled adults. In addition to individual counseling and support groups, CAPP’s social workers provide information about, and referrals to, community agencies. The program offers a support group for caregivers of hospitalized oncology patients.
- Palliative Care focuses on the relief of suffering and the best possible quality of life for patients and families through symptom management, promotion of physical and psychological comfort, and psycho-social support. Services are offered to patients diagnosed with chronic serious illnesses as well as those coping with end of life. As integral members of the palliative care team, social workers provide supportive services to patients and their family members. Additionally, they facilitate end of life care through appropriate discharge planning to home, hospice, and hospice-like facilities. As part of the bereavement program, social workers make follow-up calls and referrals to community agencies for family members coping with loss. Referrals to Palliative Care must be with the knowledge and approval of the patient’s attending physician.