Child and Family Support Services
The pediatric oncology and hematology program at Mary Bridge Children’s offers comprehensive services designed to support your child and family throughout the treatment process. We make sure your child receives personalized care, while making family an integral part of treatment.
Child Life Services
Medical care can be scary and confusing for children, which is why we created a child life services team. This team helps children and siblings cope with illness and treatment. During any procedure or hospital visit, child life specialists can assist with:
- Giving reassurance by explaining what is happening in child-friendly, developmentally appropriate language
- Distracting your child during blood draws or other procedures using toys, games or activities
- Assisting your child with difficult tasks such as swallowing pills
- Giving parents tools to talk with their children and answer questions about their medical care
Our sedation services team provides anesthesia to ensure a painless, stress-free experience for a number of procedures that include:
- Spinal taps: Children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) will require a spinal tap or lumbar puncture with every chemotherapy session. In most cases, your child won’t even know a needle is involved.
- Imaging tests: Certain imaging tests require children to lie very still, which can be difficult for small children. Our sedation services team provides medication to help children relax and minimize their distress.
- Surgery: Sedation services will attend your child’s surgical procedure and provide medication to help your child fall asleep.
Childhood cancer treatment can affect a child’s developing brain. Our neuropsychology team assesses children at risk of learning problems after treatment, helping them successfully return to school as soon as possible.
Neuropsychologists conduct a range of tests before and after treatment to understand how your child learns best. Afterwards, the neuropsychologist provides a detailed, personalized educational plan. A social worker and child life specialist partner with your child’s school to develop a reentry plan, visiting the school if necessary.
Coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be emotionally difficult for children. Our pediatric psychologists work closely with parents and children to ensure they have the tools they need to recover both inside and out.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Our rehab physicians help children recover from treatment and regain function as quickly as possible so children can return to normal activities. Physical medicine will be involved anytime surgery affects a child’s functioning.
Our rehab specialists provide services that include:
- Physical therapy to help your child recover mobility and function
- Occupational therapy to help your child regain the ability to perform everyday activities
- Speech therapy to help your child recover the ability to speak and swallow
It can be a challenge for children to get the proper nutrition after brain surgery and other treatments. Our dietitians provide nutritional assessments and develop personalized plans to ensure your growing child is receiving sufficient nutrients to support recovery.
Nurse Navigators and Personal Health Partners (PHPs)
We know how confusing the health care system can be for parents. We provide nurse navigators and personal health partners (PHPs) to help guide you through the process.
Oncology patients work with nurse navigators, while all other patients work with PHPs to:
- Coordinate appointment scheduling
- Assist with school issues
- Answer questions about medical forms, letters from insurance companies, lab results and insurance coverage
Social workers are an essential part of the care team, helping assess family needs, coordinate care, and provide counseling and social support. When you have questions or challenges about your child’s care, our social workers are here to help you get on the right track.
MyChart is a secure online system that allows you to access your child’s medical records online anytime. This service is free, and it allows you to:
- View lab results and summaries of hospital visits
- Email questions directly to your child’s physician
- Request prescription refills
- Pay bills
Financial Assistance and Housing
We care for all patients who come to us for help, regardless of ability to pay. For families having trouble affording the cost of treatment, we offer several financial assistance programs.
We also offer housing for families traveling long distances who need a place to stay during their child’s treatment. The Tree House provides hotel-style rooms as well as cooking, laundry and playroom facilities to ensure a comfortable stay.
We offer various support groups to help children, siblings and parents cope with cancer diagnosis and treatment. Our Adolescent Young Adult support group addresses issues specific to teens dealing with cancer. The Discoveries Program support group meets monthly, helping children emotionally process issues around a loved one’s serious illness.
We have a nurse available for questions and concerns during regular clinic hours, with physicians available 24/7 for urgent after-hours needs.
For questions or to make an appointment, please call 253-403-3481.