Cancer Treatment Centers of America has been providing quality treatment for their cancer patients for more than 30 years and they understand that fighting cancer involves more than chemotherapy and radiation. Today, integrated treatments focused on the mind, body and spirit is critical to the treatment and survival of cancer patients.
Recent research shows that psychological stress can negatively impact health outcomes and according to a recent study, The Cancer Experience Survey: A National Study of Patients and Caregivers, psychological services were rated as the biggest driver in overall patient satisfaction. Yet, most cancer providers aren’t offering comprehensive psychological services. Why is this?
Kurrie Wells, PhD, Director of Mind Body Medicine at CTCA, explained to Chicago Health News Examiner Brandi Walker why this is the case, shared more about CTCA’s psychological services and how a patient can cope psychologically with their illness.
- Why aren’t a lot of providers offering these services? Many cancer treatment centers actually do offer psychological and other support services. Unfortunately, given the climate of the health care economy, many cancer treatment centers aren’t able to employ mental health professionals at all, let alone on a full-time basis. However, even in the centers that do offer comprehensive psychological services, it is likely that these services are underutilized, either because physicians aren’t encouraging patients to do so, or because patients and caregivers might not be aware of their availability and the benefits that they can obtain from them.
- Tell me more about the psychological services CTCA provides. CTCA offers counseling services to our patients and their caregivers. Our providers are licensed mental health professionals through the board of health in the state in which they practice, and the treatments which we provide are evidence-based. We meet with nearly all new patients and their caregiver during their initial visit to orient them to our service and to conduct a brief psychological screening to provide recommendations. For patients and caregivers who seek ongoing care through our service, our goal is to help them maintain or regain a sense of emotional well-being during cancer treatment. You can find a list of integrative therapies including Laughter Therapy, counseling, deep breathing exercises and much more here. http://www.cancercenter.com/ctca-difference/integrative-cancer-treatment/.
- What are the three important tips for a cancer patient to cope psychologically with their illness? 1. Try to stay positive and hopeful, but also realistic. Seek help from a licensed mental health professional. 2. Seek information from trusted sources, such as your physician, nurse, or internet sources and literature. 3. Stay as engaged as you can in your “usual” life and routines, but ask for help when you need it.
For more information on Wells and the center’s psychological services, visit www.cancercenter.com/eastern/doctors-and-clinicians/kurrie-wells/.