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J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Mar;25(S1):S106-S111. doi: 10.1089/acm.2018.0383.

Implementing an Integrative Survivorship Program at a Comprehensive Cancer Center: A Multimodal Approach to Life After Cancer.

Author information

1
1 Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY.
2
2 Department of Pediatrics, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY.
3
3 Department of Research Support Services, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY.
4
4 Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This article describes the development of an integrative survivorship program at an urban National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with three closely linked components: a Survivorship Clinic with dedicated staff, a network of Support Services including Wellness, and an Integrative Medicine Program.

DEVELOPMENT:

We first defined the parameters of survivorship care and developed a patient-centric model that determined the optimal timeframes for transitioning these patients from the oncology clinic to a centralized survivorship clinic. Survivorship care includes the development of a survivorship care plan (SCP) for each patient at their initial visit to the program. Quality-of-life assessments are used in real time to guide clinical decision making to referrals to supportive care services, including educational events, expert consultations, and treatment using integrative and complementary therapies, access to legal services, community resource information, and support group activities for cancer survivors and caregivers. Integrative therapies were added to support the needs of this new program, including recruiting a nutritionist and acupuncturist, and developing a yoga, mindfulness, and Reiki program. Population served: As of June 2018, 908 people have accessed our survivorship clinic, receiving a complete clinical assessment and SCP. Patients are routinely referred to support services based on the individual needs and ongoing symptoms from treatment. The majority of referrals are made to acupuncture, Healing Touch or Reiki, nutrition, psychosocial oncology, and yoga.

CONCLUSIONS:

Developing a successful integrative survivorship program requires some essential features, including institutional support, strong leadership, a clear vision of how the clinical program will function, a dedicated team that is willing to do what it takes to get the program off the ground, and clinical oncology champions to refer patients into the program. With the development of this program, this multimodal approach to patient-centric care is maintained throughout the spectrum of care, from diagnosis to survivorship.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; integrative medicine; survivorship care; wellness

PMID:
30870027
DOI:
10.1089/acm.2018.0383

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