A diagnosis of cancer or a life-threatening disease can be a difficult challenge. It is common for children, siblings, parents, and other caregivers to experience a range of emotions and need support related to their child’s treatment.
The psychosocial services staff at St. Jude are prepared to offer support, counseling and intervention to your family during any stage of your child’s illness. Our department is an integrated group of psychologists, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, teachers and members of our resilience center. Our staff are highly skilled in the psychological, social, educational, developmental and spiritual aspects of caring for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
If you would like to talk with a member of our team, contact us to schedule a meeting.
Child life specialists help patients and families cope with the stress and anxiety that may result from diagnosis, treatment and hospitalization. Our staff use developmentally-appropriate, therapeutic interventions to help patients and families strengthen their coping skills. Medical play, diagnostic education, peer socialization, and procedural preparation and support are some ways that the child life specialists can help patients and families adjust to the hospital environment.
Our Music Therapy program is part of the Child Life Department. Music therapy can be beneficial for reducing both anxiety and pain perception and can provide your child with a healthy outlet to express their emotions. Any patient can be referred to one of our highly trained and certified music therapists by either a member of the patient’s treatment team, a family member or by the patient themselves.
The Psychology staff can work with you and your child to help identify and relieve common problems that may arise during treatment. They provide psychological assessments as well as consultations and interventions to help support you and your family. Patients may be referred by a doctor, nurse, social worker or other provider, or you may request a consultation on your own.
Licensed teaching staff are available to help your child maintain a familiar routine by providing academic instruction during treatment. They can also provide assistance and support to your child as they re-enter their school in your community. School liaisons are available to assist you in ensuring that your child receives any needed special services or accommodations to manage the long-term effects of their illness and treatment.
Social workers are available to provide counseling for patients, family members or caregivers of a St. Jude patient. Every member of our clinical social work staff has a master’s degree and is has a LCSW or LMSW license. We are available to help you cope with the emotional aspects of your child’s illness and understand how it may affect your family. Social workers also provide information that may help your family manage changes in income, custody, employment, insurance, and education.
St. Jude has board certified chaplains ready help your family during all phases of your child’s treatment. They can provide spiritual and grief counseling, opportunities for worship, pastoral visits and sacraments. They are also available if you simply need someone to listen.
St. Jude staff in the Transition Oncology Program (TOP) offer you and your family education and support to ease your child into adult care or off-therapy care. We will work with you and your primary medical team to help find services closer to home. The TOP team is made up of nurse practitioners, psychologists, rehabilitation services coordinators, academic coordinators and social workers.