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Patient and Family Support Services

Whatever your cancer diagnosis is, it is important that you have the information and resources you need to make critical decisions in your care.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center offers the following servicse to assist you before, during and after your cancer treatment. 

 

SOCIAL WORK

 

Oncology social workers are available in the outpatient clinics and in the hospital to help patients and families manage the stresses that are associated with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Your healthcare team or the Cancer Resource Center can connect you to the social worker assigned to your physician.

 

Stresses include:

  • Financial and insurance issues
  • Emotional distress, relationship issues, and parenting concerns
  • Transportation, housing, and lodging issues
  • Terminal illness and planning advanced directives
  • Need for increased support at home; i.e home care, caregiver relief, etc.

 

Services provided by our Social Workers include:

 

Counseling:

  • Brief individual, group, marital, and family counseling
  • Financial counseling
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Crisis intervention
  • Referrals to community resources and support groups
  • Patient and family conferences
  • Help with advance directives
  • Hospice and home care coordination, including durable medical equipment

NUTRITION COUNSELING

 

Nutrition is a very important part of your care during and after treatment for cancer. We have a staff of registered dietitians, who specialize in counseling cancer patients about nutritional issues. This service is FREE to all UCH patients under current cancer treatment to help you with questions and concerns about:

  • Managing side effects and changes in appetite
  • Coordinating tube feeding or total parenteral nutrition [TPN] needs
  • Resources and educational materials on topics related to cancer and nutrition
  • Cancer survivorship and nutrition education

 

Please call (720) 848-0300 to make an appointment for nutritional counseling related to your cancer diagnosis.

 

Also check out our schedule of lecture series on nutrition and the impact it can have on cancer. The lectures are taught by a nutritionist who specializes in working with cancer patients. For more information, call (720) 848-0316.

 

National Resources

 

National Cancer Institute 

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/nutrition/Patient/page1

 

American Cancer Society 

http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/SurvivorshipDuringandAfterTreatment/NutritionforPeoplewithCancer/index

 

American Institute for Cancer Research 

http://www.aicr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage_patients_survivors

 

 

COUNSELING

 

Many people find that a diagnosis of cancer either for themselves or a loved one brings up many emotions including stress, sadness, anger and isolation.  Often counseling can help with managing these feelings and coping with cancer.  Below are some resources for coping:

 

Reading materials for coping with emotional issues:

  • Emotions and Cancer
  • Psychosocial Resources and Providers for You and Your Loved Ones
  • Talking to Your Friends and Family
  • Talking to Your Children About Cancer
  • After Treatment is Complete

 

The University of Colorado Hospital provides counseling services through:

 

 

National Resources

 

CancerCare: www.cancercare.org

The Cancer Support Community: http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/

CANCER REHABILITATION

 

Cancer treatments produce physiological changes to normal tissue and body functions. These changes include:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of energy
  • A change in body fat mass
  • Decreased levels of normal physical activity

Physical Therapy can promote recovery from these changes.  We have specialists trained in cancer rehabilitation available to assist you.

 

For more information, please contact the UCH Physical Therapy Department at (720) 848-2000.

CENTER FOR INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

 

University of Colorado Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine offers physician-managed care that emphasizes the wellness and healing of the entire person, drawing on both conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Please call (720) 848-1090 for more information.

 

People with cancer may use complementary therapies for:

  • Managing side effects, including nausea, pain and fatigue
  • Managing and relieving stress
  • Emotional wellness

  

The National Cancer Institute has a brochure that may help you understand and make it easier to decide whether CAM is right for you: Thinking About Complementary and Alternative Medicine

FERTILITY / REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE

 

Your cancer treatment may affect your ability to have a child naturally.  The University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine Center provides comprehensive information, and support for those seeking options for preserving fertility or for those seeking assistance post cancer treatment.

 

Call (720) 848-1690 for appointment information.

 

National Resources

 

Fertile Hope 

 

Fertile Hope is a national LIVESTRONG® initiative that provides reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments may increase the risk of infertility.

 

Fertile Action

 

Fertile Action is working to ensure that every woman touched by cancer realizes her dream of motherhood and also provides information and financial system regarding fertility preservation and treatment.

PALLIATIVE CARE

 

Palliative care is a specialty of medicine that focuses on relieving (not curing) symptoms of an illness. Palliative care can be an integral part of a patient’s cancer treatment. 

 

The Palliative Care team at UCH works in conjunction with the Oncology team to ensure the best care and symptom management possible.

 

The goals of Palliative care include:

  • Help for patients and their families through all phases of illness
  • Relief of patient and family suffering
  • Assistance for the physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families
  • Patient dignity
  • Help for patients and families in making important health care and personal goals
  • Guidance about advanced directives, living wills, and disease management
  • Assistance with the transition to hospice care if the patient and/or family choose to stop treatments that would otherwise prolong life or when care becomes entirely comfort based.

 

The University of Colorado Hospital Palliative Care Consult Services provides care and support to patients and families facing a serious or life-threatening illness. The Palliative Care Team works directly with the patient’s primary physician(s) to help ease pain and other symptoms. The team addresses psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual needs associated with end of life as well.

 

For more information or to request a consult, please speak with your health care provider or call (720) 848-6799.


National Resources

 

Palliative Care 

 

Grief and Loss Resources

 

Hospice

SPIRITUAL CARE

 

Spiritual Care Services are available to support you, your family and those close to you as you find and use strength within your personal system of faith, culture and belief.

 

A chaplain is here to support you spiritually and emotionally with a listening and accepting presence. A chaplain is available 24-hours a day, every day.

 

For more information or to request a consult, please call (720) 848-6799.

 

GENETIC COUNSELING

 

The Hereditary Cancer Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital provides a variety of genetic services including genetic counseling, family history analysis, and genetic testing.

For more information, please call (720) 848-1030

 

National Resources

 
National Cancer Institute

SMOKING CESSATION

 

Quitting smoking is a difficult task for anyone. The University of Colorado Cancer Center offers a smoking cessation program for patients.  Contact 303-724-7848 for more information and registration.

 

The group sessions provide information on:

  • Managing withdrawal symptoms
  • Recognizing triggers for smoking
  • Breaking smoking habits
  • Changing your lifestyle

 

There is no cost for the program and smoking cessation products are available at a reduced cost.  Contact the hospital at (303) 724-7848 for details.

 

Resources

 

Colorado Quitline

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

PATIENT FAMILY CENTERED CARE (PFCC)

The University of Colorado Hospital is beginning the process of organizing a Patient and Family Center Care Council (PFCC) for our cancer clinic. The PFCC is a partnership of staff, patients, and family members. The Council's role is to work together with healthcare teams to promote the principles of patient and family centered care, to collaborate in improving the quality of care provided, and to offer suggestions to management for planning and evaluating services, programs, policies, and teaching materials.

The PFCC is looking for volunteers who have had any hospital experience and feel passionate about improving the care that the University of Colorado Hospital provides. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Cancer Resource Center at 720-848-0316.

 

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