January 6, 2015 | by Darrin Joy
Cancer and its treatment can create unexpected daily challenges for patients. Side effects from chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy as well as the disease itself can cause difficulty in everything from speech to movement to eating. When this happens, rehabilitation is vital; it helps patients restore their lost skills or function and become as self-sufficient as possible.
Too many hospitals and cancer centers underestimate the importance of rehabilitation; that can't be said of City of Hope.
Through the efforts of a team of clinicians led by the Department of Rehabilitation Services, City of Hope recently gained institutional Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation (STAR) certification, a nationally recognized cancer survivorship designation. The institution is one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers to do so.
Although several faculty and staff members received STAR certification as individuals last year, the current certification applies to the institution as a whole.
“It’s quite rare for a cancer center to attempt STAR certification,” said Jennifer Hayter, M.A., O.T.R./L., director of rehabilitation services at City of Hope. “We’re proud to be one of the few to successfully attain it.”
Offered through Oncology Rehab Partners, the STAR Program provides training and other tools that enhance cancer rehabilitation services. The program is highly evidence-based and team-based, Hayter said, involving not just rehabilitation professionals but physicians, chaplains, dietitians, nurse practitioners, case managers and other care team members.
The certification has become the gold-standard for cancer rehabilitation care, ensuring enhanced quality of care and patient outcomes.
"Every cancer survivor should have the opportunity to heal as well as possible and function at optimal level whether their cancer is cured, in remission or they live with cancer as a chronic disease," said STAR's founder, Julie Silver, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Silver developed the program of rehabilitation training and coordinated care after treatment for breast cancer left her too sick to work or care for her family. "It left me thinking there has to be a better way," she added.
There is. City of Hope is proud to offer that "better way" to its patients.
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.