Coping with a diagnosis of cancer or a blood disorder can be an incredibly challenging and stressful experience for the whole family. We provide a range of services to support the physical, emotional and social well-being of our patients and their families, integrating the expertise of pediatric psychologists, social workers, child life specialists, dietitians, physical therapists and art therapists and others.
We all have one goal — to provide the very best care to you and your family.
We understand that a child’s well-being is not just about treating the physical symptoms, but also addressing their emotional and psychological needs. Our team of pediatric psychologists are dedicated to helping children and families cope with the emotional, behavioral, psychological and learning challenges that can arise from a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis.
Our pediatric psychologists offer:
- Consultations with your child, your family and your child's medical team to determine any needs and provide a coordinated and integrated approach to care.
- Referral for neuropsychological evaluation if your child's ability to think, reason or learn has been impacted by their diagnosis or treatment.
- Therapy for psychological issues related to their diagnosis and treatment.
- Referrals to mental health providers in the community as needed.
- Psychological support to caregivers and siblings.
- Assistance with educational planning, including participating in 504/IEP planning meetings and advocating for accommodations to meet your child’s educational needs.
Our pediatric social workers are additional experts who are committed to help address the social and emotional needs of our patients and families facing a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis.
Our social workers offer:
- Connection to appropriate services available at Roswell Park Oishei Children’s as well in your own community.
- Advocacy and guidance to help you navigate the complex healthcare system
- Assistance in accessing resources and managing financial and practical challenges
- Address local lodging and transportation concerns and make referrals to appropriate agencies as needed
- Emotional support and referrals to in-house or community psychologists
This specialized service provides emotional and psychosocial support to infants, children and adolescents who are undergoing treatment for cancer or blood disorders. We help children and their families cope with the challenges of illness, hospitalization, and medical procedures.
Our child life specialists offer:
- Age-appropriate education, preparation, and support to help children understand their illness, medical procedures, and alleviate anxiety and stress.
- Pill swallowing techniques to encourage medication compliance.
- Opportunities to engage children, teens and their siblings in individual and group activities.
- Sibling support to address any questions or concerns they may have.
- Play, art, music, and other creative activities to help children express themselves, process their emotions, and promote relaxation and self-awareness.
- Celebrations for birthdays, holidays and other special events.
- Opportunities for memory making and legacy building during end-of-life care.
- Kathleen and Joseph Caratello Pediatric Visual Arts Program at Roswell Park
- Artists in Residence at Oishei Children’s Hospital offers interactive experiences with visual and musical artists to allow for personal expression and distraction during hospital stays.
- Beads of Courage – Part of a national arts-in-medicine program that provides therapeutic support through stringing beads. Your child’s cancer journey is honored by using beads as meaningful symbols that mark the events and milestones in their treatment path.
An important part of helping children with cancer and blood disorders includes finding ways to allow fun and normal family life to continue. Providing these opportunities in the company of other families who are going through some of the same challenges can be a very helpful experience.
Some of these opportunities include:
- Trips to the zoo, football, baseball and hockey games
- Teen prom
- Sibling events
- Creative Arts programs
- Celebrity meet-and-greets
- Game nights at Dave & Buster’s
- Holiday parties
- Halloween Trunk-or-Treat
- Tickets to concerts, theater performances and other special events
- Teen wellness program
- Beads of Courage program
These opportunities are provided to children and their families through two essential programs:
Integrative medicine combines standard medical treatment with complementary therapies that have been shown to be safe and effective. Acupuncture, massage, Reiki and others can help manage and relieve side effects, improve appetite and sleep, and help make the cancer experience easier. We offer integrative medicine to help patients cope with their treatment for cancer or blood disorders, and stem cell transplants.
Roswell Park currently has 15 sweet, furry four-legged volunteers that provide company and emotional healing for our patients. These dogs are a calming presence and help boost morale and improve well-being. All of our therapy dogs are certified either by Therapy Dogs International (TDI) or Pet Partners (Delta Society) and their human companions have completed Roswell Park’s volunteer process.
Supportive and palliative care is provided at any stage of treatment and alongside your child’s current treatment plan in order to address difficult symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, depression and other issues. If you or your child are feeling overwhelmed, we can help.
This program aims to help ensure our patients receive the necessary support and accommodations to continue their education during and after treatment. The outreach team will work with school staff to educate them about your child’s diagnosis and treatment plan, and any potential physical or emotional limitations. In addition to educational support, the team provides resources and materials to help teachers and peers understand the challenges your child may face and make returning to school easier.
This special program is for cancer patients and survivors aged 15-39, who face unique medical, psychosocial, and emotional challenges as a result of their diagnosis. We provide:
- Social and networking opportunities and events
- Help addressing survivorship issues
- Infertility risk assessment and counseling