On Thursday, June 24, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University will host a "Quality of Life Patient Day" for cancer patients, their family members and care-givers. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the first floor lobby of the new WCI Building, 1365-C Clifton Road, Atlanta.
Patients will be able to gather information and talk with healthcare professionals regarding quality of life issues specifically related to cancer treatment and care. Brief, informal presentations with physicians, pharmacists, social workers, dietary and religious faculty will take place in the Patient and Family Center throughout the day.
WCI is among the first cancer centers in Metro Atlanta to offer a comprehensive Quality of Life Program, focusing on meeting the needs of cancer patients in a holistic manner-treating mind, body and spirit. Psychotherapy, pain management, palliative care, nutritional counseling and spiritual support complement traditional medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation and help ease the often difficult side-effects. As part of the cancer treatment regimen, WCI offers the services of a chaplain dedicated solely to cancer patients. An in-house dietician offers patient nutritional plans specific to their needs at different stages in treatment. Two social workers lead support groups and talk therapy sessions. Patients and their families have the opportunity to meet other families in similar situations and can also benefit from individual counseling.
"Patients, caregivers, and their families need psychological care and support because cancer is a disease that carries such uncertainty," says Diane Thompson, MD, a psychiatrist who works with cancer patients. "This can be very stressful for patients and their families."
Because cancer is such a difficult disease to work through, many patients coming to WCI are screened for depression, anxiety, and other needs. Studies have shown that depression can affect a cancer patient's quality of life overall. "There's such a need to address these issues; most patients respond very well to talk therapy and medication," says Dr. Thompson.
Dr. Thompson works closely with Laurent Adler, MD, a palliative care physician, and Michael Byas-Smith, MD, an anesthesiologist who specializes in cancer pain management, to fully develop the clinical mission for the Quality of Life program.
WCI is also hosting a scientific symposium for healthcare professionals on June 25 from 1 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. To register for the symposium or to find out more about the Quality of Life Program, please call 1-888 WINSHIP (946-7447). Information is also available on the web site http://www.winshipcancerinstitute.org/QOL