A team approach to fighting childhood cancer
Presented by Alan Gamis, MD, Associate Division Director, Oncology
The foundation of the Hematology/Oncology Program at Children’s Mercy is the staff’s commitment to extraordinary, individualized patient care. That’s why every patient is followed throughout treatment by a specific team comprised of a physician, nurse practitioner and social worker. By consistently working together, the team builds a rapport—with each other, the child and the family—that ultimately results in a higher level of care.
An advanced practice nurse case manager oversees each child’s case from diagnosis through follow-up care, providing the family with education on the child’s diagnosis, the plan of care, medications, side effects and treatment schedule. The nurse also helps coordinate admissions, tests, checkups and visits to the primary hematology/oncology care doctor and subspecialists.
Every patient is also assigned a social worker to help address his or her psychosocial and emotional needs, as well as to assist in coordinating family and community services. This includes supportive counseling, anticipatory guidance, school reentry, linkage to financial support and grief and loss counseling.
The case managers work in concert with many other disciplines within the hospital that have personnel specifically dedicated to the hematology/oncology patient, such as chaplaincy, nutrition, pharmacy and child life. This multidisciplinary team approach gives Children’s Mercy an unsurpassed case management system.
“Throughout their care, our patients will have the same case team, and the same case manager is the first contact for the family whenever they have questions or concerns,” says nurse practitioner Sue Stamm, Hematology/Oncology Division Manager. “The benefit is that they have consistent people who know their child and family. Based on our experience, we believe that increases continuity of care and patient satisfaction.”
“When you are dealing with childhood cancer and blood disorders, you are dealing with illnesses that will affect patients for the rest of their lives,” says Gerald Woods, MD, Division Director. “We have a tremendous responsibility and obligation to provide the children we treat and their families with the highest level of care possible, and that care can only be provided through a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach.”