Patient and Family Support Programs
The oncology services team provides support and effective care for patients throughout the cancer continuum (prevention, treatment, and survivorship) which are essential to promoting quality of life. Providing appropriate educational information and support is important in demonstrating respect for the oncology patient and empowering the patient and his/her family to be active participants in the treatment process.
Patients who receive a cancer diagnosis are surrounded by support from our team of physicians, nurses, care managers, chaplains, navigators, rehabilitation specialists, psychosocial counselors, social workers, radiation therapists, nutritionists, financial counselors, home health care and hospice caregivers. The Team works with patients and family members who need social support or assistance coping with their cancer diagnosis. Team members help coordinate resources while they care for the patient’s physical, emotional, social, spiritual and practical needs.
Strength for the Journey
A free support group for all cancer patients, meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 11:00AM to 12:00PM at the Cancer Center Conference Room, 2494 Bernville Road, Reading , PA. The group provides a lifeline to information, support, and encouragement from diagnosis through survivorship.
Please call Nancy Fonseca at 610-378-2517 for more information.
St. Joseph Medical Center staff from many disciplines contribute knowledge and skills to the care of our cancer patients.
- Physician-led groups work together during Multidisciplinary Conferences, such as the general Cancer Conferences (tumor boards) and disease-specific cancer conferences, such as the Multidisciplinary Breast Care Conference (MDBCC) to analyze the cancer patient’s total clinical picture and to formulate an effective (consensus), evidence-based treatment plan. Most cancer patient cases are reviewed prospectively, soon after the cancer is diagnosed or the patient’s status has changed. Cancer conferences provide an opportunity for the team to consider the applicability of clinical trials, enhanced psychosocial care, genetic counseling and testing, rehabilitation services, and palliative care to each patient’s situation. Cancer conferences offer an opportunity for on-going education of physicians and allied health professionals.
- Financial Counselors verify insurance eligibility and benefits, obtain office visit, procedure and treatment authorizations, and work with care managers, pharmaceutical companies and community advocates and public agencies to help patients access financial assistance as needed.
- Patient Navigators help to support and guide patients through diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship. Our BCPN is available to help coordinate appointments and referrals, assist in identifying additional community resources, help in arranging transportation for appointments and treatment, obtain translation/interpreter services for appointments, and provide emotional support and understanding during a difficult time.
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation staff help patients cope with the activities of daily living affected by their cancer experience and enable them to maintain or resume normal activities. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation staff provide outpatient physical therapy, wound therapy, ostomy care, lymphedema services, monitored exercise programs, including the TAKE CARE exercise and rehabilitation class, and coordinate with health care agencies to provide in-home therapies.
- A multidisciplinary team of caregivers, including doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, chaplains, navigators, psychologists, and psychiatrists provide Psychosocial Support services to help ease the concerns which can cause mental distress. Staff guide patients to professionals and resources who can help patients address financial, emotional, relationship, and spiritual concerns. Our Psychosocial Services team supports patients by assessing their level of distress and providing personalized information, identifying strategies to address needs, providing emotional support, and helping patients manage their illness and health.
- Nutrition Services are essential components of comprehensive cancer care and rehabilitation.
- St. Joseph Medical Center collaborates with community organizations such as the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) and Breast Cancer Support Services (www.bcssberks.org) to provide Support Groups and opportunities for sharing and companionship. Children of cancer patients gain comfort through KidsKonnected, a support group sponsored by St. Joseph Cancer Center. Facilitated by a licensed counselor, KidsKonnected provides emotional support and camaraderie for children dealing with the anxiety created by a family member’s cancer diagnosis. Our Spiritual Care chaplains provide support to bereaved families and our Cancer Center hosts a memorial service to honor the lives of those who have lost their lives to cancer.