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Social Workers Provide Comfort to Patients

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2011 Oncology Peer Review Committee Roster

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Social Workers Provide Counsel, Comfort to Patients with Cancer and Family Members Throughout Their Journey
A diagnosis of cancer can have a profound impact on one's physical, emotional and social well being. Overwhelming feelings of fear, sadness, anger, uncertainty and isolation are common responses, and at St. Luke's Hospital, we understand that.

Oncology social workers, with master's degrees in social work, are available to provide psychosocial services to patients, families and caregivers through all phases of the cancer experience.

Psychosocial support and interventions help patients and families:
  • Cope and adapt to a diagnosis of cancer, its effects and the varied emotions that may be experienced
  • Assist with discharge planning, transition planning, counseling, support groups, resource and referral, education and survivorship
  • Sort through concerns about role adjustments within the family, work concerns and areas of distress
  • Talk with children, family and/or friends about the diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Address end of life care, needs and resources
Social workers provide information and coordinate referrals to community resources, including HavenHouse, whose mission is to provide "the comfort of home and a community of support" to those patient's/family members coming from a distance for treatment and/or physician appointments in need of affordable lodging.

Social workers help patients access The Life & Hope Fund, which provides limited financial assistance to St. Luke's patients with a diagnosis of cancer or malignant blood disorder who lack adequate resources for medically necessary services/supplies such as prescription co-pays and durable medical equipment.

They also provide information and resources for the Bridging the Gap Fund, developed by area oncology social workers and funded by the St. Louis Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, which provides financial assistance to eligible patients receiving active treatment for breast cancer.

In addition, social workers facilitate the Look Good...Feel Better Program, which partners with the American Cancer Society. This free program teaches beauty techniques to women who are in active treatment for cancer.

"As an oncology social worker, I think the very best way to take care of our patients is to collaborate and work closely with the team of professionals involved in their care," says Jenny Candice, LMSW. "The medical and radiation oncologists, nursing staff, therapists, dietitians and chaplains ensure that each patient's medical, psychosocial and spiritual needs are identified and addressed. I feel very fortunate to work with a team of professionals who are sensitive to all of the patient's needs."

"Increasing numbers of patients are surviving a diagnosis of cancer, thanks to continued medical advances and treatments, says Diane Jorgenson, LCSW. "For the St. Luke's healthcare team, when a patient finishes treatment, we celebrate. But, sometimes, this ending and subsequent beginning also brings about mixed feelings and emotional overload for patients. It is a privilege to help survivors process their cancer journey."

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