The Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan - About Us
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, you will have many important issues to consider and decisions to make. But there is one very important thing you won't have to worry about – where you can find the best possible treatment for your condition. That's because the best in today's cancer care is available right here, close to home at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center.
The Cancer Center at Good Samaritan has been recognized by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as offering high-quality cancer care and has earned three-year accreditation on 5 consecutive terms, 15 years in a row. This recognition of the quality of our comprehensive patient care and of our commitment to providing you with access to all Good Sam's various medical specialists who are involved in diagnosing and treating cancer.
Care at a Commission on Cancer approved cancer program ensures that you will receive:
- Comprehensive care offering a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment
- A multispecialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options available to cancer patients
- Access to cancer-related information, education and support
- A cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up
- Information about ongoing cancer clinical trials and new treatment options
Approval by the Commission on Cancer is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to provide the best in diagnosis and treatment of cancer. To meet the standards necessary for Commission approval, each cancer program and the organization that controls it, must undergo a rigorous evaluation process and a review of performance. In order to maintain approval, facilities with approved cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years.
The Cancer Center at Good Samaritan includes prevention, early diagnosis, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, surveillance for recurrent disease and multiple primary tumors, psychosocial support and care at the end of life. Additionally, the hospital offers a full range of outreach programs, including free screenings, education and support groups.
While treatment can seem overwhelming, at Good Samaritan's approved cancer treatment program, you can be assured that you will receive the best in care and that your condition will be watched carefully through a lifelong program of follow-up care.
Good Samaritan offers a variety of services that extend beyond diagnosis and treatment. These departments and programs are an integral part of the Cancer Center at Good Samaritan Hospital and include:
Patient Navigation – Breast Cancer and Radiation Oncology
Good Samaritan provides personalized support by a staff that is certified in cancer care patient navigation. Navigators educate and guide patients and their families throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery. This program helps to overcome obstacles to cancer care and navigate the health care system. Patients with suspicious findings will be referred to the navigator to ensure expedited diagnosis, treatment and high quality care.
Cancer Genetic Counseling
The Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at Good Samaritan Hospital offers comprehensive cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling, patient education, and genetic testing for patients who are concerned about cancer risk. Board certified genetic counselors help patients understand and adapt to cancer risk and to make informed decisions about cancer surveillance and risk-reducing strategies in an effort to minimize the burden of cancer in the family.
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The physical therapist has an important role to play in the rehabilitation process of the cancer patient, whether the goals are preventative, restorative, supportive or palliative. One goal of rehabilitation is to lessen the impact that the specific disability has on the individual's everyday life. Physical therapy can help cancer patients achieve functional independence and improve their quality of life. A therapist may address functional tasks, positioning and splinting of extremities, lymphedema control, wound desensitization and scar management. Rehabilitation can assist patients with proper body mechanics, ambulation, prosthetics, wheelchair mobility, range of motion and strengthening exercises. An integral part of physical therapy is patient and family education to assist with the patient's care and promote a safe environment upon discharge.
The oncology social worker provides discharge planning, assistance and emotional support to cancer patients who are unable to be cared for safely at home. Coordinating with the family, the social worker arranges the patient's transfer from the hospital to either a long or short-term care skilled nursing facility.
All patients are screened for nutrition risk within 24 hours of admission and the dietitian will complete a nutrition assessment within 48 hours of screening. During the assessment and subsequent reassessment, past, current and future cancer treatments are considered when determining the patient's nutritional care plan. Due to the unique needs of the cancer patient, a list of alternative food choices is available to help manage symptoms and aid intake. The dietitian works closely with the patient and family to formulate individual meal plans, snacks and nutritional supplements to suit the patient's specific needs.
During an initial consultation with the radiation oncologist, all patients will receive a nutrition screening. Patients will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, which includes diagnosis, age, height, weight, weight change, symptoms and whether they would like to speak with a registered dietitian. The dietitian will review the questionnaire and contact the patient by telephone for consultation providing recommendations for improved nutritional status.
Palliative care can be initiated from diagnosis to advanced disease and is often given alongside a curative treatment plan. The goal of palliative care is to relieve the pain, symptoms and stress of any serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any point in your illness. The hospital's specially trained staff is here to help you physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is different from hospice services, which are limited to those patients with a life-limiting illness, nearing the end of life, when curative treatment is no longer sought.
Patients elect Good Shepherd Hospice when it is determined that curative treatment will not be effective. During the last six months of life, hospice care helps maintain comfort, thus allowing the patient and family a measure of dignity and time to engage in a reconciliation process. The care at home is accomplished through an array of health care professionals, available seven days a week, 24 hours-a-day. Direct admission to Good Samaritan is arranged by Hospice when symptoms can no longer be adequately addressed at home, when a patient does not want to die at home or if the family needs respite.
Chaplains offering pastoral care are part of the multidisciplinary cancer team. Pastoral care services are available for patients, families and staff on the cancer unit, as well as other patient care areas in the hospital. Meeting the spiritual needs of patients and families might include praying with them, holding weekly caregivers support group, and providing ongoing spiritual and emotional support through prayerful presence and attentive listening. In addition, sacramental ministry by ordained priest chaplains is also available. Members of the pastoral care team will be happy to contact a patient's pastor or rabbi at your request.
Patients receiving cancer care at Good Samaritan can receive continued acute nursing and therapy services in their home environment through Catholic Home Care. The ongoing recovery process following surgery or other hospitalization may be enhanced with nursing visits, home health aide care, therapy services, social work assistance, nutritional counseling and pastoral care. The multidisciplinary Home Care team provides assistance following radiation and chemotherapy treatment. They also communicate with the physician concerning patient status and response to medication and other treatments. Laboratory work and X-rays can be arranged in the home for the homebound patient. Home Care also offers a volunteer "friendly visitor" program to provide support and companionship to patients and their families. Home Care nurses are trained in pain management techniques and are able to provide pain medication in the home. Professional staff is available seven days-a-week, 24 hours-a-day, for phone consultation and patient visits, as needed.
If you have any questions about Good Samaritan's cancer program The Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan, please call the Physician and Health Referral Line at (631) 376-4444.