Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Program

Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care

Psychosocial Oncology Website

What is psychosocial oncology?
While other oncology treatments focus on treating the physical components of the disease, psychosocial oncology is geared towards helping patients and families maintain emotional well-being and cope with the stresses associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

What is palliative care?
Palliative care is the treatment and support of patients whose disease is no longer curable. It providers focus on treating patients’ symptoms and making patients as comfortable as possible.

UHN’s Psychosocial and Palliative Care Area
At UHN, we believe a supportive environment and appropriate assistance are key components of effective cancer treatment. A wide variety of social, psychological and psychiatric support services are available, to both patients and their families.

Our multidisciplinary psychosocial oncology and palliative care team includes professionals from social work, early childhood education, psychiatry, psychology, children’s services, psychosocial research and palliative care. We also have close links to chaplaincy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, oncology nursing and volunteer resources.

Individuals and families coping with cancer are not alone
Our programs and services are geared toward helping patients and their families connect with a supportive community of staff and fellow patients. Through the following services and programs, we focus on reducing stress and improving the quality of life for patients and their families:

Individual counselling – helps patients cope with stress and anxiety associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment
Group counselling – reduces isolation and provides support and education
Pre- and post-treatment counselling – assists patients in preparing for treatment and coping with side-effects
Resource counselling – connects patients with appropriate resources and helps them learn to navigate the health-care system
Medical consultations – provides patients with appropriate treatment when necessary, such as anxiety or depression medication
Palliative care - provides ongoing care and symptom management to meet the complex needs of individuals whose cancer has not responded to other treatment
Children’s services – The Magic Castle/Children’s Services provides daycare for children and grandchildren of patients at PMH. This program also provides additional counselling for children, and conducts research on parenting.

For more information, visit the Psychosocial Oncology Web site.

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