You are not alone in your brain tumor diagnosis. A true brain tumor center will offer an Integrated Support Team for brain tumor patients. This team provides emotional and support beyond the doctor’s office.
The Integrated Patient Support Specialist works directly with patients to provide a range of services including:
- Emotional support
- Help with logistical needs
- Assistance with financial or insurance issues
- Accessing or scheduling complimentary therapies like:
- Nutritional therapy
- Naturopathic medicine
- Oncology rehabilitation
- Spiritual support
What is an Integrated Support Team?
This is a team of individuals and specialists that work with patients and families to help grapple with emotional and non-medical concerns related to having a brain tumor or brain cancer. This team does not help with standard medical care needs, but with day to day emotional and additional needs taken care of by a social worker or patient care coordinator on staff at the brain tumor center. The patient coordinator manages schedules, appointments, facilitation of communication with family members and oversees patient education and support group activities.
Who is on my Integrated Support Team and what do they do?
Integrated care has been shown to impact overall patient well-being, as emotional needs are addressed in addition to medical needs. This team of people involved in the treatment process consists of any combination of the following (check all that are currently on your team):
- Brain tumor patient
- Brain tumor patient’s caregiver
- Patient Care Coordinator (CNA, MA)
- Research Coordinator (CCRP, CCRC, RN, ARNP)
- Occupational Therapist (OT)
- Social worker/counselor (MSW, MSSW, MC)
- Hypnotherapist (CHT, CMHT)
- Physical Therapist (as needed) (PT, DpT)
Social Workers offer:
- Support groups
- Additional one on one counseling
- Caregiver counseling
Social workers may be trained in additional areas such as:
- Psychotherapy (PSTP, PhD)
- Hypnotherapy (CHT, CMHT)
What do I do if my brain tumor center does not offer an integrated support team or program?
- Ask your neurosurgeon and neuro-onoclogist to establish a team for you
- Call or email the Chris Elliott Fund and we will work directly with your brain tumor center to help you get this set up. Our patient support services center can help!
My Integrated Support Team versus my Multi-Disciplinary Treatment Team
What is the difference between an Integrated Support Team and a Multi-disciplinary Team Approach to treating my brain tumor?
A multi-disciplinary team is the medical team that is working together to achieve the best treatment plan for the brain tumor patient. This team should consist of the following (check all that are currently on your team):
- Neurosurgeon (MD)
- Neuro-oncologist (MD)
- Radiation Oncologist (MD)
- Neuro-Radiologist (MD)
- Neuropathologist/Pathologist (MD, PhD)
- Neuro-psychologist (PhD, ARNP)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Principal Investigator of a clinical trial (may be treating neuro-oncologist) (MD, CCPI)