At Genesis Medical Center, we know the support of caring professionals helps cancer patients and their families find an extra measure of strength to face the challenges cancer brings.
That's why support is a vital part of our cancer care. Educational programs, information resources, counseling and a host of other services and amenities help cancer patients and their loved ones learn to adapt to the changes in their lives.
Cancer Nurse Navigators
You've been told you have cancer. You hardly have time to digest the news before it feels like you've been swept up in a whirlwind of tests, treatments, unfamiliar technology and multiple health care providers.
You fear the unknown. Your family wants answers. If you had a personalized map to guide you through the cancer treatment maze, you would buy it.
Instead, the Genesis Cancer Care Institute has something better: three nurse navigators, Wendy Ballou, Melissa Frantz and Amy Fitzgibbon, who can be a compassionate compass and provide directions to patients during their cancer journey.
When people learn they have cancer, they are scared and anxious. They are listening but not really hearing what is being said. It is very easy for them to get confused or misinterpret what they have been told by their physicians. Their questions usually come after the appointment is over and they are at home pondering the uncertain future they face.
If patients have questions after they talk to their physicians, they can now call a nurse navigator who can reiterate what the physicians have said and instruct them again. They are that one-on-one contact person, resource and guide. They can educate and communicate so that patients and families understand their treatment options or what their treatments, tests or procedures mean.
Cancer nurse navigators can be particularly helpful because cancer treatment usually requires an entire interdisciplinary team.
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Social Services (Counseling Services)
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer causes major life changes. These changes are never easy, but support from family and friends, as well as your health care team, helps to relieve both emotional and physical stress.
Genesis Medical Social Services is an intricate member of this health care team offering assistance in the following ways:
- Social Workers on staff are available to speak with you and your family throughout your treatment process;
- Offering emotional support and assistance in coping with treatment;
- Guiding you to available cancer support and education groups;
- Helping you understand and talk with your numerous doctors, nurses and health care providers;
- Assisting with insurance and other financial issues
Please call Ruth Laabs-Wilcox, Oncology Social Worker, at 563-421-1082 for more information.
The Genesis Cancer Care Institute offers a variety of programs and services that are complementary in nature and may be used in conjunction with your medical treatment plan.
Meditation, T'ai Chi and Gentle Yoga are offered at Genesis Medical Center in conjunction with the Satva Center. Meditation is an ancient practice that brings inner peace. It quiets the mind by using the breath and directing our awareness inside.
T'ai Chi is a Chinese ancient system of rounded, fluid movements that enhance joining mobility, body flexibility, balance and circulation. It also strengthens the body and centers the mind as a meditation in motion.
Gentle Yoga is a series of body postures held in silence combined with breathing techniques that relax, stretch and add strength and flexibility to the body while calming the mind.
Reiki, the name used to describe universal energy flow from one person to another, speeds the body's own ability to rejuvenate and in some cases, regenerate healthy cells, by increasing and enhancing the positive energy flow through a person's energy body. For more information contact 563-421-1935 or visit the Foundations of Light Web site.
Wigs and Other Head Coverings
The Genesis Cancer Care Institute in partnership with the American Cancer Society accept donations of wigs and other head coverings that are new or gently used. Wigs are on display in the Resource Center and are available for women at no cost. All donated head coverings/scarves are displayed throughout the Cancer Center and are available on a first come, first served basis. We are very grateful for the many generous donations that we receive. For information about this service call 563-421-1907.
Music for Care and Healing
The healing effects of music are available throughout our Cancer Program. The Inpatient Oncology Unit has a large selection of tapes and CD's with players to use in patient rooms.
Hospice care emphasizes the quality, not the quantity of life remaining by focusing on the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual comfort needs of both the individual and his or her family. The goal of Hospice is to help the individual make the most of each hour of each day of remaining life. In-home hospice services are provided in both Iowa and Illinois. For more information on Hospice care, contact Hospice Care of VNA at 563-421-5400 or visit the National Hospice Organization.
Nutritional Support Services
Eating Strong: Getting the Most Fight From What You're Eating
If you are reading this, changes are someone you know close to you and maybe even you yourself have been diagnosed with cancer. You want to help you the best you can. What you eat is key to how your body will fight, survive and heal from the cancer treatment.
Whether the treatment includes radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination, your body is going to need a well-trained defense system to hold strong, replenish, and heal.
Everything you eat and drink changes the chemistry of your body. If you are not putting into your body nourishment there will not be the nutrients needed to fight and heal. You may feel more tired, eat less, your muscles may start to disappear, adn even new sensations you have never felt before will trickle throughout your body.
If you eat only healthy food, it will not stop the side effects of cancer treatment, but it can definitely lessen them and keep your body stronger to fight where needed.
Also, you may be shuddering thinking the dietitian will be putting you on a diet with foods that taste like cardboard or look like brown mystery blobs. Not true. Dietitians are able to put together custom options for you to eat that include your favorite foods, foods specific to help with side effects, and food specific to your cancer diagnosis. Most likely, the dietitian will find things you need to eat less of that will decrease the side effects and foods to eat more of that will boost how well your treatment works.
Improving Your Food Intake
One of the hardest battles on the eating front during treatment is the alterations in taste that occur. Your taste buds basically go bonkers during treatment. They may develop a metallic taste, be extra sensitive to hot and cold, or go dull altogether. This means food taste different and even may turn you off when you loved them before. On top of that, many patients do not even feel like eating due to lack of appetite settling in stronger than most have ever experienced before.
There are steps that can be taken to revitalize your tastebuds. What is happening is your tastebuds' sensory output is damaged so the brain picks up only a tiny signal and this is worsened by the fact that the brain was expecting a certain flavor sensation and was tricked. It is like taking a drink of orange juie to find out it was really just water colored orange.
Think about when you are mixing the paint colors blue and yellow (in equal parts) and instead of getting a strong green color this time, you get a super light green; the green is barely detectable. So foods that used to be on your favorite foods list may now even taste horrible to you or very weak in flavor.
Here are a few things you can do to help:
Metallic Taste: Add a sweetener like maple syrup, agave nectar, honey glaze, or some sweet maranade; even a squeeze of lemon helps.
Too Sweet: Add in a few drops of lemon or lime juice. It amazingly mutes the sweetness.
Too Bitter: Add a sweetener like maple syrup, agave nectar, honey glaze, or some sweet maranade.
Everything is Cardboard: Use sea salt and a spritz of fresh lemon juice to bring the flavor of the dish discernible for your tastebuds.
Other considerations are the power of herbs and spices. They are super powerhouses because they can bring out the flavor of foods, add new flavor to bland foods, and release cancer-fighting compounds called phytochemicals into your foods giving you a strong defense in your body.
Why Visit the Cancer Center Dietitian?
First, it is estimated that 80% of cancer patients develop some degree of malnutrition during their illness. Malnutrition can lead to weight loss, increased complications during treatment, and delayed healing. A dietitian can help you maintain your weight and more importantly your muscle mass which is truly the important weight you want to keep to fight the cancer with.
Secondly, there are many side effects your body will experience during treatment. They often include fatigue, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, mouth sores, no appetite, and changes in taste. No two patients are the same. The Cancer Center Dietitian will meet you where you are in your treatment, in the side effects you are experiencing, and very importantly, find out your culinary preferences to include foods you like both the flavor and texture to create a custom plan for you.
She/he will not force you to eat foods you don't like. And even better, you will get the opportunity to eat foods you may never have tried before that become your new favorites.
The best time to visit the Cancer Center Dietitian is early on in treatment and then regularly during treatment. Contact the Genesis Cancer Care Dietitian 563-421-1900 or 563-421-1923 to get started on a plan customized for you to eat strong.
Physical Rehabilitation Services for Oncology Patients
As part of the Genesis Cancer Care Institute, Genesis Rehabilitation Services are committed to improving potential for survivorship and quality of life. The nurse, using a questionnaire about the patient's functional skills and home situation, will interview all patients at the Cancer Care Institute. This questionnaire will determine potential problem areas and trigger a referral from your physician for therapy as needed.
The purpose of cancer rehabilitation is to assist patients in resolving problems related to their disease and treatment in order to achieve the highest possible level of function. Multiple rehabilitation needs can now be addressed at one location. These services are available throughout all phases of your care.
- Recent arm/leg weakness
- Recent fall/balance problems
- Swelling of leg or arm (lymphedema)
- Unsteadiness or difficulty walking
- Problems swallowing
- Speech and thinking/memory changes
- Decreased endurance when performing daily activities
- Determine patient concerns through review of history and listening to patient
- Identify functional problems through tests and measures
- Select appropriate therapy treatments(s)
- Patient and therapist will work together to set achievable goals to improve function
- Make additional referrals to other services as needed
- Provide a comprehensive rehabilitation program that addresses patient concerns
- Provide an individualized home exercise program
- Provide family education to assist patient as needed
- Provide recommendations for environmental and home changes/equipment which will contribute to improved function
- Provide follow-up and referral resources within the community
What to Expect:
- Muscle strengthening
- Lymphedema management
- Pain management
- Gait and transfer training
- Skin and wound care
- Balance and coordination
- Lifting/Moving assessment
- Posture and positioning
- Self cares (bathing, dressing, grooming)
- Lymphedema management
- Upper extremity strengthening and coordination
- Energy conservation
- Manual therapy including massage to reduce pain and promote tissue health and circulation
- Assessment and treatment of changes in speech or thinking/memory skills
- Communication assistance
- Swallowing assessment and treatment
For more information about our program, please contact us at 563-421-1457.
Spiritual Care Support
Staff chaplains of the Genesis Spiritual Care Department are available to personally minister to patients, families and friends. Hospital chaplains are trained and experienced in the health care field, and serve persons of all denominations and faiths. Chaplains are available to listen, helping you deal with fears, frustrations, questions and tough decisions. They can help by praying with you or responding to sacramental needs appropriate to your faith. They can be present with you in a crisis and can be of assistance in completing Advanced Directives. Chaplains visit the Cancer Care Institute to talk with patients and family members. The Spiritual Care Department is open during the week and at other times by a contact through your nurse. Call 563-421-7974.
Information and Resources
Oftentimes seeking information about a cancer diagnosis or treatments or symptom management is the first part of the initial stages of the cancer journey. Genesis offers a variety of services to provide you and your family with the information that you need.
- The Cancer Resource Center is a library of information on a multitude of topics, whether you are looking for recipes and nutrition information, facts about a particular kind of cancer or stories of others who have gone before, you can find it in the Cancer Resource Center. Open from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, there are books, brochures, newsletters, journals, and Internet resources available for use and circulation.
Smoking Cessation Support/Tobacco Free Living
Genesis Cancer Program and Genesis Pulmonary Services are committed to helping members of the community learn to develop healthy tobacco-free lifestyles. Smoking cessation programs are available on an individual or group basis for both adults and teens. Adult cessation sessions are offered in our Pulmonary Rehabilitation Gym, West Campus. Also available are programs that we can bring to your workplace for groups who want to quit smoking.
For information about our tobacco cessation programs, please contact Chris Pekios at 563-421-1769 for information.
For additional information on tobacco in the Quad City area, go to TobaccoFree QC's Web site. Genesis is an active member of this Quad City-wide coalition and shares the mission of the elimination of tobacco use in our society.