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By Mary Turney
Emeritus Manager of Patient Support Services

The decision to come to a center like Moffitt for the treatment of cancer is usually prompted by the desire to receive cutting-edge medical care. As Florida’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt staff are highly skilled and trained to provide excellent patient care and conduct pioneering research. But did you know that the center also offers a wide array of services that complements medical treatment and strives to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families?

While each situation is unique, cancer in the family is often a source of distress and uncertainty. Relationships may shift, communication can be strained, and, at times, feelings may be overwhelming. Jimmie Holland so aptly describes the challenge facing patients and caregivers in the title of her acclaimed book, "The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty." Coping with the emotional roller coaster that cancer presents can be daunting but skilled and caring professionals within Moffitt's Department of Patient Support Services are available to help.

Each clinic at Moffitt includes a clinical social worker as a member of the medical team. They have specific expertise in providing guidance, counseling and support to patients, family members and caregivers throughout the stages of cancer treatment or when palliative care becomes the primary goal. Social workers lead a variety of support groups to promote the unique benefits of peer support. They are also knowledgeable about community resources and can link individuals to sources of support within their own locales. Psychologists and psychiatrists are available to provide short-term counseling and medical management of disabling emotional distress. Chaplains are also on staff and are responsive to the spiritual crises that serious illness can present.

The Department of Patient Support Services offers many specialized programs that are intended to enhance the quality of life of cancer patients and families.

  • The Families First Program provides educational and counseling services to young children of cancer patients and to their parents.
  • Arts in Medicine presents patients and families with the healing benefits of creative expression (music, art, poetry) at the bedside and in-clinic areas.
  • Integrative Medicine serves to inform and provide patients and caregivers with safe and effective complementary therapies such as gentle yoga, massage therapy and acupuncture.

These and other services are available to you and your family at Moffitt. For more information about any of these services, please call the Social Work office at 813-745-8407 or the Integrative Medicine office at 813-745-4630, Option 1.