Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute Support Services
Children who are hospitalized during the course of their care receive treatment and support in Nicklaus Children's 30-bed dedicated Hematology/Oncology Unit. Patient rooms feature cheerful décor and have been specially designed for patients with weakened immune systems to minimize the risk of infection.
During their stay, children experience the special environment of a dedicated children's hospital, where all care and support personnel are experienced in meeting the needs of sick children.
What's more, children meet and mingle with other youngsters with similar health issues, often developing lasting bonds that help sustain them throughout their care and recovery.
Families of children at Nicklaus Children's also benefit from the Michael Fux Family Center. This facility serves as a home away from home, offering basic comforts such as showers and laundry facilities, as well as stress relievers, including a small workout gym and massage room, and dazzling family entertainment facilities, including a movie theater and libraries.
Outpatient Infusion Services
The Living Room, Nicklaus Children's ambulatory infusion center, is a family-centered service designed to provide infusion therapy and short-stay treatments, including chemotherapies and blood transfusions.
The Living Room at Nicklaus Children's Hospital is a pleasant, comfortable space where children can play, relax and even nap while receiving infusion therapy. The infusion center also provides a setting where children can interact with young people with similar diagnoses. And parents can meet and gain support from other parents in comparable circumstances.
The Living Room has become a place where the child and family learn that they are not alone, while receiving the infusion therapy they need safely and efficiently.
(Children with marked immunosuppression are properly isolated for their protection.)
Directions to the Infusion Unit
The Cancer Institute team includes a dedicated clinical pharmacist from the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Pharmacy, who is assigned exclusively to support patients from the Center.
The pharmacist provides patient care recommendations on pharmacotherapy and assesses drug interactions, drug dosages, and drug effects. They accompany the Cancer Institute team on daily rounds and provide counseling to families of patients regarding medication use and administration. They also help with the transition to home care, ensuring that each patient has appropriate medications when leaving the hospital.
The pharmacist is just a phone call away for parents once they are home, providing ongoing support with medications, as needed. The provision of a clinical pharmacist to serve the Cancer Institute offers a continuum of care for patients, ensuring that a specialist familiar with each child's unique needs and physiological response is available throughout the course of treatment.
In addition, the hospital's Outpatient Pharmacy supports the Center by stocking the highly specialized drugs required for the care of cancer patients. The Center also coordinates the selective use and storage of National Cancer Institute research drugs.
Due to the enormous impact a cancer diagnosis has in the life of a patient and his or her family, a team of social workers is an integral part of the cancer support services offered by the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.
A social worker is present when the family first meets with the physician to discuss the diagnosis and continues to play a supportive, clinical role throughout the child's treatment. Social workers participate in weekly multidisciplinary meetings to review the care plan of each hospitalized child. Social workers also work individually with patients, parents, siblings and extended family members, assisting them in their adjustment process to illness and hospitalization. When indicated, social workers consult closely with psychiatrists and behavioral medicine specialists for additional clinical interventions.
The social work team facilitates diverse parent support groups and refers families for other cancer support services, such as financial, housing, transportation, day-care and bereavement-related services as needed.
Psychiatric and Psychological Services
Child and adolescent psychiatric consultation is part of an integrated, comprehensive evaluation of many hematology/oncology patients. Chronic pediatric illness of almost any kind with recurrent hospitalization is a psychological risk factor for children. The rate of psychiatric illness in children with both chronic medical conditions and disability is three times greater than non-compromised children.
Every child with a pediatric illness requiring hospitalization experiences a psychological reaction. The degree of reaction varies with the developmental level and the level of function prior to illness, as well as the state and reaction of the family and the severity of the illness. The divisions of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Nicklaus Children's Hospital offer individual therapy for the patient, family therapy and participate in the patient and family support groups.
Volunteer organizations are the lifeblood of any institution. The Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute, is fortunate to have the support of the United Order True Sisters, Miami #43, since 1958. This entity has a long tradition of providing support services to our cancer and blood disorder patients, including sponsorship of the annual summer cancer camp.
A holiday party in December brings children with cancer together to celebrate the joys of the season with staff and friends and acquaintances from the hospital. A cancer survivor's day celebration is held each June, with dozens of patients and their families in attendance.