A diagnosis of cancer is very trying. It can be trying not only on the
person diagnosed, but also on their family and friends.
Hoag Family Cancer Institute recognizes that a patient not only needs expert technology and treatment,
but also expert
care – addressing their social, spiritual and emotional needs and their
support team. And that’s what Hoag provides. An extensive support
team, consisting of social workers, nurse navigators, genetic counselors
and others who provide the support services that help patients navigate
and manage the murky waters of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
“Our commitment to comprehensive care means we are just as serious
about offering industry-leading support services as we are about providing
state-of-the-art treatment options,” said Caitlin Glenn, ASW, oncology
clinical social worker for Hoag Family Cancer Institute. “Hoag is
focused on treating the whole person – their bodies as well as their
minds and spirits.”
This comprehensive approach has distinguished Hoag as an institute unlike
any other, with nurse navigators, genetic counselors, support group leaders
and exercise coordinators as dedicated to patients as the oncologists
and surgeons on the team.
And they really are a team.
“Our multidisciplinary approach means the medical providers, the
support team and the patients themselves collaborate on care to make sure
that everyone is addressing the patients’ needs,” said Sandy
Southerland, B.S.N., R.N., O.C.N., an oncology nurse navigator and South
Patients are each assigned a designated clinical nurse navigator like Sandy
to coordinate their multidisciplinary care plan and guide them through
treatment and recovery. These nurses ensure that lines of communications
stay open between patients and their specialists, doctors and support
They also help to direct patients to the outstanding social workers, support
groups, classes and workshops that distinguish Hoag as a leader in patient-centered
cancer care. Hoag’s programs offer everything from genetic counseling
to palliative care to consultations with experts who can help patients
improve their appearance during treatment.
These services all have a common goal – relieving anxiety through
information and nurturing care. This is particularly true of Hoag’s
hereditary cancer assessment program, which offers risk assessment counseling
and genetic testing to people with a personal or family history of cancer.
“Knowledge is power, and what patients crave is the information that
can help them participate in and direct their care,” said genetic
counselor, and Irvine resident Jeanne Homer, M.S. “That’s
what makes Hoag’s program so unique and so sought-after.”
Hoag’s medical team has seen first-hand how support services has
amplified and strengthened the care they are able to provide.
“In many parts of the country, even as innovations in cancer care
have progressed, cancer care delivery is still in crisis. It isn’t
patient- centered enough and doesn’t answer to patients’ needs,”
said An Nguyen, M.D., Hoag-affiliated Oncologist and Assistant Professor
of Clinical Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “That
is why all of us here believe support services are not ‘extra.’
They are part of what makes our program so successful. By addressing the
emotional, wellness and psychological aspects of cancer treatment, our
support services greatly benefit patients during and after treatment.”
For more information about Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s Support
Services, check out: www.hoag.org/cancer-support or call 949-7-CANCER.