Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Work Health Care. 2018 Apr;57(4):221-249. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2018.1441212.

Psychosocial standards of care for children with cancer and their families: A national survey of pediatric oncology social workers.

Author information

a Steven Hicks School of Social Work , University of Texas at Austin , Austin , USA.
b Department of Hematology/Oncology/Blood & Marrow Transplant Program , Alberta Children's Hospital , Calgary , Alberta , Canada.
c Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation , Washington D.C. , USA.
d Pediatric Oncology Branch , National Cancer Institute , Bethesda , USA.


In 2015, an interdisciplinary group of psychosocial experts developed The Standards of Psychosocial Care for Children with Cancer and Their Families. This paper presents data from a national survey of pediatric oncology social workers and their experiences in delivering psychosocial care to children and families. In total, 107 social workers from 81 cancer institutions participated in a 25-item online survey that mirrored the 15 Standards for Psychosocial Care. Both closed and open-ended questions were included. Social work participants reported that psychosocial support is being provided at most cancer centers surveyed, primarily by social workers and child life specialists, addressing adaptation to the cancer diagnosis, treatment, and transitions into survivorship or end-of-life care and bereavement. While social workers reported offering comprehensive services throughout the cancer trajectory, many of the 2015 Standards are not being systematically implemented. Areas for improvement include funding for psychosocial support staff and programs, incorporation of standardized assessment measures, assessment for financial burden throughout treatment and beyond, consistent access to psychology and psychiatry, integrated care for parents and siblings, and more inclusion of palliative care services from time of diagnosis.


Pediatric oncology; psychosocial care; social work

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center