Supportive Care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
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Our Services

Palliative Care Services
Comprehensive supportive care services require the expertise of an interdisciplinary team in order to adequately assess and treat the complex needs of cancer patients and their families. Our Palliative Care Program includes professionals from medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, psychiatry, nutrition, shiatsu therapy, music therapy, art therapy, chaplaincy and other professional disciplines. The team meets weekly to review cases, discuss options and implement the plan of care for each patient.

Pain & Symptom Management
The pain and symptom management consultation includes a thorough assessment done by one of our pain experts followed by treatment recommendations that are discussed with the patient’s primary oncologist.

Professional Support Services

Social Work Assessment
Our social workers provide emotional support for patients and families through one on one counseling or support groups. They provide assistance with transportation, information on medical insurance, pharmaceutical benefit programs, and legal issues, among others.

Nutritional Counseling
A nutritionist will help develop an individualized nutrition plan and provides information on all aspects of nutrition.

Psychological Services
Psychological support to patients and families is provided through individual and family sessions, relaxation training, hypnosis, couples therapy and group psychotherapy.

Spiritual Counseling
We provide spiritual care to patients and families working with the patient’s faith community, if appropriate.

Integrative Therapies

Music Therapy
This therapy uses music experiences to address a range of issues related to illness and treatment such as pain, nausea, depression and stress.

Shiatsu Therapy
Shiatsu therapy is based on traditional Chinese medicine that focuses on treating the patient’s bio-energetic system with finger and hand pressure to the body’s energy channels. Shiatsu enhances the ability of the body, mind and spirit to care for itself.

Art Therapy
Art therapy provides emotional support to patients and families using art media, images and the creative art process.

Support Groups for Patients and Caregivers
Led by trained professionals, our support groups offer patients and families emotional support, education and a chance to meet others with similar issues. A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. Usually patients and family members have many questions and concerns about the disease and the treatment.

The Palliative Care Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital helps patients and family members deal with the physical and emotional distress caused by the cancer diagnosis and treatment. The less distress patients have, the more energy they can direct toward recovery.


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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