There are 2 programs designed to address emotional needs of patients and family members within the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University. These programs are unique in offering psychosocial support and counseling service on site in the Hematology/Oncology clinic and within Wake Forest Baptist Health. This feature allows for the delivery of counseling services to patients in conjunction with their medical care.
The Cancer Patient Support Program (CPSP)
The mission of the Cancer Patient Support Program is:
To provide social support for cancer survivors and family members and to enhance quality of life during the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship process.
The CPSP has 8 staff members, several graduate student counselors and approximately 30 core volunteers who provide a variety of services in the clinic and hospital each week. Services delivered by our professional staff include individual and family counseling, inpatient consultation, appearance consultation, support groups, breast cancer risk assessment and education and training for nursing staff within the Medical Center.
Volunteers are active in hospital visitation, providing hospitality and refreshments in the Hematology and Oncology and Radiation Oncology clinics. These core volunteers are supported by another group of over 100 community volunteers who are active in an annual Winterlark fund raiser, the annual Survivor's Day Celebration, and numerous survivor celebration activities throughout the year.
Services are offered in the Hematology and Oncology clinic where the CPSP maintains a patient resource room, a hospitality waiting area, counseling rooms and an administrative office. Volunteers serve patients in these areas as well as in the chemotherapy treatment area. The CPSP also maintains a support waiting room in the radiation oncology treatment area.
All services are offered without charge and are funded by an annual fund raiser, an endowment fund, donations, grants, and medical center contributions.
The Psychosocial Oncology Program (POP)
The Psychosocial Oncology Program began as the Psychological Services arm of the Cancer Center in 1988, with the purpose of providing psychological assessment and counseling for patients and family members suffering from more intense psychological distress. Patients often need help with:
- Distress, anxious and depressive feelings
- Symptom management, i.e., poor sleep, fatigue.
- Communication conflicts
Additional services include general supportive counseling, specific behavioral procedures, including relaxation training, and stress management. This Program provides psychological screening, quality of life assessment and counseling services for all bone marrow transplant patients prior to transplantation and for surgical oncology patients undergoing Cytoreductive surgery + Hyperthermic chemotherapy.
The Psychosocial Oncology Program has developed a research/evaluation and teaching component within the Comprehensive Cancer Center. The program is funded through fee for service activity and grants.
The Cancer Patient Support and Psychosocial Oncology Programs have been designed to meet a wide range of patient needs. Most cancer patients and their families do not need intensive psychological care but rather support service provided through our volunteers and professional counselors.
We are able to accommodate patients with more disruptive symptoms as well as those proceeding through the more common "normal distress" during the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship process. In our own studies conducted in the outpatient clinic, we have seen that the new diagnosis is extremely distressing and yet can be modified by an orientation program which is made available for all new patients.
These 2 programs represent unique offerings within the administrative structure of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Section of Hematology and Oncology. While services are available in the hospital including Psychiatry, Social Work, Pastoral Care and others, accessibility often is a problem for cancer patients. Since both the CPSP and POP are accessible within the Hematology and Oncology clinic and the inpatient setting, they are highly visible, well utilized, and very well received.
The integration of psychosocial care within the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Health is a special feature that contributes to the well being of cancer survivors and their families.