Caring for Cancer Patients Means More Than Just Medical Services at Nebraska Cancer Specialists
Committed to providing care for the whole person, Nebraska Cancer Specialists has hired two additional team members to add to its Integrative Health Care program– a model which provides comprehensive, whole-person care for cancer patients, families and caregivers.
Dealing with a cancer diagnosis, and the process of cancer treatment, is undoubtedly hard on a patient’s body physically. Thankfully due to research, new treatment options continue to expand and improve. While medical treatment is an important part of a patient’s treatment plan, it is not the only part of a patent’s cancer journey. There are often many other effects patients and their caregivers experience.
As a result, Nebraska Cancer Specialists has implemented an Integrative Health Care Program. Integrative Health Care includes a collaborative care approach to cancer treatment. This whole-person integrated approach includes mental health, occupational therapy, genetic counseling, palliative and geriatric supportive care, and pharmacy.
“Providing care for individuals at every level of body, mind and spirit can improve overall outcomes. We want Nebraska Cancer Specialists to be a comprehensive resource for our patients and their families to achieve the best possible recovery,” said Danielle Geiger, Practice Administrator at NCS.
Dr. Jane Karges, Clinical Psychologist, joined NCS in January. Dr. Karges has both clinical expertise and first-hand experience to help patients, families and caregivers optimize their emotional well-being during and after cancer treatment.
“Every experience is unique to each individual patient. I offer multiple treatment modalities such as talk therapy, self-care strategies, relaxation techniques, mindfulness and more, to help each individual find the right mechanism to process the mental and emotional impact of illness,” says Dr. Karges. “The goal is to help increase the quality of life and help patients and families reclaim feelings of hope, and control over their lives.”
A growing area of cancer care is Genetic Counseling. Genetic Counseling helps patients and their families understand inherited cancer risk, cancer screenings, prevention, treatment options and provides support.
Twilla Westercamp, a Certified Genetics Nurse, recently joined NCS to provide genetic counseling services. Westercamp works with patients to analyze genetic information to identify their risk for specific cancers. She provides counseling to patients and families through information, education, and reassurance.
“Genetic counseling is rapidly becoming more popular,” says Westercamp. “It is a powerful tool to have specific risk information individualized to you. Knowledge about your cancer risk can help you make informed medical and lifestyle decisions. I am trained to help patients cope and talk to family members.”
Mental health, occupational therapy, genetic counseling, palliative and geriatric supportive care, and pharmacy make up the Integrative Health Care Program as part of NCS’s overall approach to whole-patient care.
“As a community oncology practice, we are committed to providing comprehensive care that makes it convenient for patients, while providing them opportunities for the best outcomes. And
that includes making patients feel like they are truly part of a community that is looking out for them every step of the way,” said Geiger.
For more information about these services, or to make an appointment with Nebraska Cancer Specialists, please call (402) 334-4773.