Learning you have cancer can be traumatic and overwhelming. Knowing where to go for medical support is one thing, but knowing how to find answers to the emotional, psychological and practical questions can add stress and anxiety. That’s where Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and Wellspring cancer support centre come in.
The two organizations have partnered to deliver a collaborative and innovative model of care, where for the first time Wellspring’s cancer support services are available in the hospital setting. “This venture is an excellent fit for both Women’s and Wellspring,” says Marilyn Emery, President and CEO, WCH at a celebration launching the partnership. “Both organizations have a focus on women and cancer, both recognize that research is an integral component to all its programs, and both are working to meet the needs of diverse populations.”
As the seventh Wellspring satellite program in Canada, Wellspring@WCH provides education and other resources to cancer patients and caregivers from any hospital and at any stage of disease to help cope with stress, isolation and fear. “We commend WCH for its progressive thinking and for inviting us into the hospital,” says Holly Bradley, Managing Director of Wellspring. “Together, we now provide a link between patients’ medical and psychosocial needs within the hospital, where the cancer journey often begins.”
Professionally led programs available at no charge and without referral offered at WCH include:
• Peer Support from cancer survivors and caregivers of cancer patients who provide comfort, reassurance and access to other programs.
• Money Matters Resource Centre with information on government income programs, community resources and support to help cancer patients cope with the financial difficulty that can come with a cancer diagnosis. Specialized financial services such as on-site intake from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program are also available.
• Cancer Exercise is available exclusively for WCH patients to help women with cancer increase their level of fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce the severity of treatment-related side effects.
• Yoga combines body awareness techniques through gentle stretching and movement, with meditative and breathing exercises to help reduce stress, improve coping and achieve a sense of calm and well-being.
• The Labyrinth Walking Meditation at WCH reduces stress and anxiety, and improves coping.
• The Discussion Series includes various professionally led presentations on topics related to cancer.
Wellspring@WCH opened in March 2009 and is located off the main lobby at 76 Grenville Street in Toronto.