What is Care Management?
Care Management is an emerging program at Florida Cancer Specialists that utilizes a team approach to deliver quality care to our patients. The Care Team consists of YOU (our patient), your physician/nurse practitioner, the RN Care Manager, pharmacist, nutritionist, clinic staff and several others. The Care Team is designed to optimize each patient’s health status and quality of life. You will have an individualized care plan that is developed through collaboration between you, your physician and the Care Team.
There are three phases of Care Management:
Active Care Management/Triage
In this initial phase, the RN Care Manager (Navigator) will introduce you and your family to the program and explain the purpose, focus and approach of Care Management. The Navigator will call you to assist with the required paperwork, which includes a review of systems, your medication list, family history and general demographics. Your physician and other members of the Care Team will also have access to this information, which will enhance delivery of the quality care you deserve.
Active Care Management/Triage
The second, or acute, phase will be very important as you begin active treatment. During treatment, side effects can occur. Your personal Care Manager will be instrumental in working with you and your physician to manage any symptoms you may experience and to ensure your comfort and quality of life.
In addition to coordinating your care, your Care Manager is also available for emotional support and to act as a point of contact for you.
Communication is of extreme importance during this time; your Care Manager will collaborate with you and all other members of the team to guarantee that your individualized care plan is followed and updated, as needed.
This is the third phase of the Care Management program. Today, there are more than 14 million cancer survivors in the United States alone and that number is expected to grow as we continue winning the battle against cancer. By definition, you become a survivor at the time of diagnosis and will continue to be a survivor through the rest of your life.
There are three phases of survivorship, including:
Diagnosis of your cancer
Survivorship is introduced at the time you are initially diagnosed with cancer. This phase is highlighted by our commitment to your education about your disease and the latest treatment options available, as well as world-class personalized care.
Treatment of your cancer
During this phase, your individualized plan of care is developed and implemented by your personal Care Team.
Life after cancer
This may be the most important phase of survivorship. You will be assigned a Survivorship Coordinator to assist you after your treatment is completed. A tailored plan of care will be developed by your Care Team that will allow you to resume your busy life.
FCS Integrative Oncology and Wellness Services
As the leading oncology treatment provider in Florida, we focus beyond the medicine to strengthen the mind and body. The addition of integrative services at Florida Cancer Specialists reaffirms our commitment to providing world-class, personalized and comprehensive care under one roof. Our approach to wellness care is to offer safe, evidence-based opportunities, education and resources to our patients. Services vary by location, so please consult with your physician.
Integrative Oncology is a total approach to cancer care that includes addressing both mental and physical well-being. Combining the appropriate medical care path - such as chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery - with proven evidence-based practices and therapies can often produce promising results in helping patients cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. When used properly, these enhancements can improve quality of life without interfering with treatment.
The Integrative Oncology Program (IOP) focuses on the complex health of people with cancer, both physical and emotional health, and uses a variety of approaches to complement conventional therapies.
The primary goals are to enhance health, quality of life and clinical outcomes for cancer patients and their families by offering educational tools and support programs.
This also enables the patient to be more actively involved in their care, which can be a very empowering and therapeutic experience.
Benefits of Integrative Oncology
To support every aspect of the patient’s care - from management of physical side effects to reduction of emotional stress
To provide hope and positive thinking, which may improve the healing process and increase overall quality of life
To promote wellness during the initial stages of treatment and beyond into survivorship
In addition to improving overall mood, massage has been shown to be effective in managing treatment-related side effects, which may include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and muscle/bone pain. Select offices offer massage services to patients during treatment given by specially trained oncology massage therapists who circulate through the chemo and waiting rooms. Where it is available, this incredible service is provided free of charge to both patients and caregivers.
Acupuncture is a supplemental therapy that has strong evidence-based recommendations and can be beneficial to any patient with uncontrolled nausea, vomiting or pain. It can also help relieve or reduce the intensity of many side effects of treatments, including constipation, decreased appetite, dry mouth, hot flashes, neuropathy, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. Acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific anatomical points using a variety of methods, most often with the use of hair-thin needles gently inserted into the skin. Acupuncture is safe when performed by qualified practitioners and has a very low risk of side effects.
Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Like other meditative movement practices, yoga typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. It can be used for general health and wellness maintenance, in addition to addressing specific health conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, arthritis and anxiety.
Current research suggests that practicing yoga can reduce some types of chronic pain, as well as stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, help to relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia, and improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility.
Two recent studies evaluated the benefits from yoga for breast and lung cancer survivors and demonstrated significant decreases in fatigue and increases in elevated mood.
Nutrition Counseling and Cooking Classes
Balanced nutrition is a very important part of cancer treatment, as well as survivorship and prevention. Despite the changes that can occur during cancer treatment that affect appetite and taste buds, our goal is for patients to maintain a diet with a wide variety of whole foods. When patients are able to do so, dietary supplements are usually unnecessary. Our cooking classes and nutritional consultations can assist in meeting that goal. For patients who wish to use nutritional supplements, including botanicals for purported antitumor effects, it is recommended that they consult with their physician.
Physical activity decreases the risk of cancer occurrence and recurrence. Studies also show that patients who exercise on a regular basis tolerate their treatments better, as well as improve their quality of life and emotional well-being, and lessen the severity of fatigue. Physical activity may include activities such as walking, biking, or swimming, and should be based on ability and level of endurance. In some locations, Florida Cancer Specialists partners with other organizations such as the YMCA to offer targeted activity and exercise programs specifically designed for cancer patients.
Patients may use meditation to help reduce anxiety, pain, stress, sleep problems and depression. Meditation can help patients and caregivers let go of negative thoughts and reach a more peaceful state of mind, as well as feeling more physically relaxed. It is also useful for maintaining general wellness.
Available at some locations: Music and Art therapy, Reiki, Tai Chi, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Survivorship: Care Beyond Cancer
Florida Cancer Specialists is dedicated to providing patients with continued personalized care after treatment to help patients live to their fullest potential. Though many patients go on to lead very healthy, normal lives, we acknowledge that life may never be the same as it was before diagnosis. There can be long-term and late effects of chemotherapy and radiation including on-going emotional stress, as well as the patient’s desire to prevent cancer recurrence. We are here to help address these issues by providing recommendations related to nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation.
Talk with Your Doctor
If you are interested in integrative therapies, please consult your physician. Some of our programs might require permission from your doctor to participate, so please speak with him or her about the services that may benefit you. The physicians at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute encourage patients to take an active role in their own care. Talking with your doctor will assure that all aspects of your cancer treatment work together to provide the best outcome.