Patients and families who cope with cancer face many challenges. We believe that the more our patients know about their cancer and its treatment, the more equipped they are to actively participate in their care. The Center for Patient and Family Services at Sibley Memorial Hospital offers a variety of resources to assist patients and families during this time. Email cancersupportGWA@jh.edu for more information.
Our social work program provides for the psychological, social, emotional and practical needs of cancer patients and their families. A social worker can teach you how to manage the stress and changes that may come with cancer. In addition, social worker-led support group meetings are available.
Contact an oncology social worker to:
- Learn how to talk about cancer with family members, children, friends, employers and your health care team
- Help you manage feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, worry or depression that can be associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment
- Help you become familiar with the hospital environment Learn the best ways to talk with your health care team
- Learn new ways of coping with stress
- Help organize your family life around cancer treatment
- Connect you with services which may help you during and after cancer treatment, such as resource and transportation services and education about home care, hospice and palliative care ?
- Help with financial counseling
Due to earlier diagnosis and better treatments, the number of cancer survivors has rapidly grown and exceeds 14 million people in the United States alone. We have learned that when a cancer patient transitions beyond treatment, challenges may continue in coping with the physical, emotional and social impacts of the illness. At Sibley we have resources to assist you in making adjustments and solving problems to improve your quality of life. Patients tell us they want to be empowered, to take control back and to get on with life. Our staff is dedicated to guiding you in the phase of “survivorship.” We are here for you, so please stay in touch.
Our goal is to help you reach your maximum sense of wellbeing and health, perhaps even better than before your diagnosis.
The Sullivan Breast Center at Sibley offers cancer survivorship counseling for breast cancer patients once you have completed treatment for breast cancer. This service provides an opportunity for you to take an active role in your recovery health by meeting with an oncology nurse practitioner to outline your follow-up plan. Together, you and the nurse practitioner will review your treatment and any residual side effects and how to manage them, as well as your follow-up schedule for seeing your oncology providers. This counseling session also includes a review of lifestyle behaviors and small ways you can make changes in your habits to improve your health and reduce risk for recurrence.
After your counseling session, the nurse practitioner will create and mail to you a written Treatment Summary and Survivorship Care Plan that includes Personalized Health Promotion Recommendations. With your permission, copies of this written roadmap will also be sent to your primary care provider and any other consultant you wish.
Your Sibley Hospital surgeon, radiation oncologist or medical oncologist will submit a referral to our nurse practitioner’s office, and they will call you to make a 45-60 minute appointment.
The following resources are available both during and after treatment.
Cancer survivorship is about living and managing health after a cancer diagnosis through treatment and beyond to post-treatment or maintenance care. Patients, family members and caregivers are all impacted by a diagnosis, and every stage of care has its own demands and challenges.
At Sibley, we offer many resources and services to help patients and co-survivors cope with the issues at hand, whether they are treatment decision-making, self-care management (through nutrition, stress management, exercise), psychological and relationship concerns, treatment side effects, financial issues or impact on employment. Helping you achieve a good quality of life, along with excellent cancer treatment, is our goal.
We offer classes in yoga, meditation, social work support, nutrition consults and programs, rehabilitation, informational seminars and more. Contact Pam Goetz, the survivorship navigator, to learn more about resources available to you at Sibley and in the community.
Cancer patients face many challenges when trying to understand and navigate the health care system. These challenges begin at the time of diagnosis and continue throughout care continuum. Our cancer nurse navigators, often referred to by our patients as a “cancer coach,” provides support, resources and care coordination from diagnosis to returning to life after cancer treatment. Patients often say they feel more prepared to handle what may lie ahead with the partnership of a navigator.
Your cancer nurse navigator will:
- Coordinate your care to ensure timely access and smooth transitions
- Facilitate communication among patients, providers and other agencies to optimize your care
- Prepare you and your loved ones on what to expect
- Work in collaboration with our oncology social workers to address financial and insurance concerns
- Connect you to oncology social work, nutrition and other support services as needed
- Provide education about treatment, medication and disease side effects
- Connect you to post-treatment survivorship resources
During an individual nutrition consult, the oncology dietitian will provide an assessment of your diet, provide suggestions and strategies to help manage side effects, better tolerate treatment and meet your specific dietary needs and goals.
In addition, the dietician will help to decipher and answer questions about the large amount of conflicting nutrition information that is available via internet, magazines and other sources. Consults are also available after a patient has completed treatment. Sibley recognized that a cancer diagnosis may create physical, emotional and psychosocial changes leaving survivors feeling vulnerable. Nutrition counseling can help you deal with these issues by incorporating positive changes in diet and lifestyle.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for patients with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a cancer diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the patient’s family and is appropriate at any age and at any stage of a serious illness. It can be provided together with curative treatment.
Palliative care benefits include:
- Expert treatment of our pain and other symptoms (such as poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation)
- Clear communication
- Dedicated time with you and your family to consider treatment preferences and navigating the health care system
- Assistance with coordination your care with all your health care providers
- Guidance in considering difficult decisions and understanding complex information
- Emotional and spiritual support for you and your family
The Palliative Care program at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley consists of two options:
Inpatient consults: Available for patients in Sibley Hospital and their families. Ask your doctor or nurse to speak with a palliative care professional.
Outpatient Oncology Palliative Care and Symptom Consultation Clinic: The clinic offers services to patients of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley. Services include comprehensive management of physical, psychological and spiritual needs of cancer patients and their families, focused on improving quality of life. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to speak to their oncologist regarding the benefits of palliative care and for a referral.
Spiritual Support is another service offered at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley. Whether you are newly diagnosed or in remission, we understand that you may struggle to understand why this has happened to you, feelings of guilt, anger, grief, or isolation from your faith community. We promote the spiritual care of persons as an essential dimension of the total care and services provided by Sibley. Our dedicated chaplains provide spiritual support to people of all faith traditions and are readily available for spiritual counsel, prayer, emotional support or a nonjudgmental presence while you work through any worries or concerns that may arise during your cancer care.
The chapel is located on the first floor of the Main Hospital, next to the main elevators. The interfaith chapel is open 24 hours a day for prayer, meditation and solace. Community worship service is offered in the chapel on Sundays at 11 a.m. for all faith groups. Roman Catholic Mass is held on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. All are welcome. For patients who cannot attend these services in person, tune in to channel 14 for a broadcast in any inpatient hospital room.
For information about financial counseling, please contact 202-660-7530.
Our oncology financial counselors provide individualized assistance to patients, families and caregivers to facilitate timely access to care and help overcome health care system barriers.
Your oncology financial counselor will:
- Provide education about your individual insurance plan and treatment coverage
- Locate foundations that offer financial help
- Obtain insurance clearance for medical oncology treatments
- Connect you with outside resources like co-pay assistance programs and health insurance education
For information about support programs, contact Pam Goetz at 202-243-2320 or email@example.com.
Participants experience mind-body, spiritual, social and physical benefits. Actively pursuing wellness through education, skill-building and experiential classes is one of the ways individuals can work toward a better quality of life, during and after treatment. These programs are made possible through generous donor contributions to the Sibley Memorial Hospital Foundation.
What Caregivers Need to Know
A multidisciplinary team of experts shares practical information and self-care strategies to educate and support cancer caregivers. Resources about health insurance, disability and financial matters, along with tips for stress management, intimacy and respite, are offered. The program provides time to connect with other caregivers.
Educational programs related to specific cancer types, treatment advances, nutrition or other survivorship topics are offered to educate and empower community members.
Look Good, Feel Better
A free program for women in active cancer treatment to learn how to cope with skin changes and hair loss. Facilitated by a trained cosmetologist and an aesthetician.
Meditation and Mindfulness for Patients, Survivors, Family and Friends
Open to cancer patients, family and friends to learn about and practice mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and loneliness, improve sleep and boost the immune system.
Reiki Self-Care Practice
Reiki is a healing practice that originated in Japan and uses light touch through still placement of hands. Reiki has been shown to ease stress and anxiety, improve sleep and digestion, and provide a sense of well-being and peacefulness.
Four-week series for individuals who have recently completed treatment. The program includes experts discussing nutrition, stress reduction, lymphedema risk reduction, exercise, emotional health and side effect management. Participants may benefit from networking with others and meet individually with a health coach.
Yoga for Cancer Patients/Survivors
Weekly restorative yoga for cancer patients and survivors led by instructors with specialized training. Practice focuses on balance, stretching and breathing. Various classes for multiple ability levels: mat, chair, combo chair/mat and young adult classes.
Art Therapy and Cancer Survivorship Series
Art therapy offers an opportunity to use the creative process to explore feelings and ideas and share experience with others. In a safe environment, a trained art therapist suggests a thematic prompt to initiate the creation of an art object using household materials. A reflective theme might include the concept of strength, resilience or community. No prior art experience or expertise is needed.
Candid Conversations about Cancer
A video series created to provide guidance on the emotional and practical aspects of coping with cancer and to help start a conversation between patients and their loved ones. The Sibley Center for Patient and Family Services is here to help
Sarcoma Cancer Center
The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center created six videos to provide information and comfort to those newly diagnosed with sarcoma. Hear from a surgical oncologist, a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist about the different aspects of treatment and how the clinical team works together to provide care. Another video reviews the ancillary staff and support programs available to help you cope with nutrition, side effects, rehabilitation, and mental health, as well as integrative health practices that offer social connection and other benefits. Two sarcoma cancer patients tell their stories with insight and hope.