When you’re fighting cancer, there is no shortage of information on the disease process, treatment options, side effects, and clinical outcomes. What is harder to find is information about how to hold down a full time job while undergoing treatment. How to handle the intense fatigue that settles over you. How to find energy to play with your children, while keeping a clean house and dinner on the table.
St. Francis’ Survivorship Program can help. One of the first STAR-certified survivorship programs in the country, this program optimizes your health during cancer treatment and recovery through therapies that increase energy, reduce pain, and strike the perfect balance of proper nutrition, exercise and spiritual care. We provide our patients with the most comprehensive rehabilitation care available and most of our services are reimbursable by health insurance providers. Having access to world-class follow up care, without added medical costs, allows you to get your life back on track.
Our Surviorship Program reflects the philosophy at St. Francis that there are three disctinct phases of care for every cancer patient: diagnosis, medical treatment, and survivorship. Survivorship is a critical and distinct phase that begins at diagnosis.
We are committed to helping you reach optimal recovery.
Our Physical therapists and occupational therapy teams can help you improve your mobility and increase your endurance. In addition, our functional exercise programs build strength over time to make all your tasks easier and boost your energy level. We can also help you determine the activity level thats right for you so you can still have energy to do the things that you enjoy. Our aquatic therapy and massage therapy can improve your flexibility, relieve joint stiffness and pain, and improve your overall mobility and range of motion. Massage therapists provide scar tissue massage and help for post-surgical swelling. Additionally, our Speech-Language Pathologists can provide tools and exercises to help improve your concentration and memory.
As part of our program, you can attend free monthly classes focused on healthy
eating after cancer and managing your weight. You also can meet with our registered
dietitian one-on-one to develop an individualized diet plan that optimizes your
health and energy level during treatment and recovery. Survivorship Program participants also can attend free weekly yoga classes
that are designed just for those undergoing treatment and recovering from cancer.
Furthermore, our psychologist and social worker are available for individual counseling sessions and can put you in touch with a variety of support groups that offer emotional support during your recovery journey.
Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have completed treatment, we can help.
We serve all survivors, whether they are beginning treatment, finished with treatment, or experiencing late effects or unresolved issues from past treatment. We believe that taking part in our survivorship program is an integral role in healing, so we recommend that it begins at diagnosis. However, our program is open to everyone no matter the prognosis, cancer stage or phase of recovery.
We have a highly trained team.
Our program is led by a knowledgeable medical staff that encompass a wide variety of disciplines, including:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Lymphedema therapists
- Speech and swallowing therapists
- Registered dietitians
- Licensed clinical social worker
- Surivorship Nurse Navigator
In addition, more than 50 St. Francis employees have been specially-trained by the STAR program. That means that nearly every department that you may interact with during your cancer journey most likely has a trained staff member in it. Even non-medical staff like social workers and billing specialists are on the STAR team.
When evaluating your needs we look at the “big picture.”
Rather than using a “problem-oriented” approach and tackling each health issue as it arises, we address the full spectrum of post-cancer care. When evaluating a patient, in addition to focusing on his or her health conditions and symptoms, we take into consideration diet, sleep issues, existing pain, endurance, strength, exercise habits and emotional outlook. All of these factors have an important effect on physical healing.
We offer a personalized rehabilitation plan with an interdisciplinary approach.
After undergoing a thorough evaluation by our navigator, a personalized rehabilitation plan is created, with the goals of increasing strength and energy, alleviating pain, improving physical functioning, achieving emotional balance and boosting the immune system. Each team member provides his or her expert medical guidance, training, encouragement and support, for the duration of the program.
Hear how the Survivorship Program has helped some of our patients:
A special part of the Survivorship Program is our Survivorship
Navigator, who is available at no cost to patients and who can help guide them to
their return to their highest level of function and independence while helping
coordinate their physical improvement, emotional, and social well-being. Ann Mihalik, RN, BSN, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult
Oncology/Immunology from Medical College of Virginia-VCU, and has
over 13 years of nursing experience with a focus on Oncology. As Survivorship Navigator, it is Ann's goal to make sure you
understand your options, services and resources available.
For people who are diagnosed with cancer, the options, procedures, timelines and appointments can seem confusing and overwhelming. Our navigator:
Arranges and coordinates appointments for therapy, nutrition counseling, counseling, yoga, and massage
Ensures that our patients understand what is happening and why
Coordinates referrals to community resources, such as support groups, social services and financial aid
Ann is a consistent point of contact for questions, emotional support, and referrals. She can help you work through the emotional issues intertwined with difficult treatment decisions by listening, talking, and putting you in touch with people who understand and know how to help. St. Francis offers these services at no cost to any patient who is a patient of the St. Francis Survivorship Program. You may reach Ann at 864-675-4656.
A physicians referral is required to take part in the Survivorship Program, so ask your doctor if
this program is right for you. To learn more, call 864-675-4651.