Support services include a variety of services and resources that help patients and their families deal with the diagnosis of breast cancer. Support services address the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. Cancer care is composed of a spectrum of services, ranging from prevention and early detection, through diagnosis and treatment, as well as end-of-life care (Journal of Nursing Care Quality, January/February/March 2003: 18(1); 61-72).
The supportive services offered on-site at a healthcare organization will vary depending on the scope of the facility, local staff expertise, and patient mix (The Commission on Cancer, Cancer Program Standard 6.1, 2004: Supportive Services).
In 2004, in a joint publication, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council of the National Academies reported on the psychosocial needs of women with breast cancer. “Distress in cancer has been defined as an unpleasant emotional experience that may be psychological, social, or spiritual in nature.” Referrals to specialists in psycho-oncology, social work, pastoral counselors, and other professionals may be helpful. Surveys suggest that about 10 to 30 percent of women with breast cancer have used psychosocial services. However, two-thirds of women indicate that they would accept such services if they were routinely offered (Institute of Medicine, 2004: Meeting Psychosocial Needs of Women With Breast Cancer).
The UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute recognizes the importance of addressing the cancer-related patient needs by providing comprehensive support services, including the following:
- Resource Center/Library
- Nurse Education
- Social Work Services
- Reach to Recovery Program
- Boutique Center, offering mastectomy bras and wigs
- Support Groups
- Physical Therapy
- Exercise Programs for Employees and Senior Patients
- Sexual Counseling
- Occupational Therapy
- Hospice Care
- Palliative Care
- Multidisciplinary Planning Committee
- Caner Control Network
- Stamp Out Smoking Program