How to Select a Cancer Program

Mother visiting son in the hospital

Selecting where a child will receive his or her cancer treatment is one of the biggest decisions a caregiver will ever make. It’s hard to know where to start and which questions to ask.

CHOC has been treating pediatric cancer patients since 1964. Out of our years of experience working with patients and their families, we have come to understand the things that matter most when it comes to deciding where a child receives treatment.

Selecting Where Your Child Receives Cancer Treatment Is Filled With Many Questions. We Are Here to Help.

After reading through these frequently asked questions and answers and learning more about our extraordinary services and commitment to children, we think you will agree that there’s no place like the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC.

Can a parent/caregiver stay overnight when a patient is hospitalized?

Unlike other hospitals, at CHOC, each patient may have one caregiver stay overnight at the bedside. We strive to make CHOC a home away from home.

Are children hospitalized for infusions?

While some children may have to be hospitalized for infusions, most of our patients’ infusion treatments are performed at our state-of-the-art Outpatient Infusion (OPI) Center. Research has shown that treating children on an outpatient basis, whenever possible, can promote faster recovery times and enhanced well being. The OPI features 20 outpatient infusion stations, including two isolation rooms and two procedure rooms. The center includes a recreation therapy area and dedicated child life specialist, as well as televisions, DVD players and PlayStations at each infusion station. We truly believe in the healing power of play.

Does the Cancer Institute offer Phase I clinical trials?

We offer the very latest pediatric cancer treatments. In fact, we are one of only 21 cancer facilities in the country able to offer the Children’s Oncology Group’s cutting-edge Phase I clinical trials.

Does the Cancer Institute offer child life specialists who help patients through difficult procedures and explain complicated treatments?

At CHOC, we have four full-time child life specialists just for our pediatric cancer patients. Our child life specialists help patients understand their illness and treatments, provide fun activities for patients, and more. In addition, we are able to offer our patients pet therapy, music therapy, and much, much more.

Does the Cancer Institute specialize in using pediatric cancer protocols (cancer treatments)?

Pediatric cancers, whether they occur in an infant or young adult, must be treatment different than adult cancers. At CHOC, we have been treating pediatric cancer since we opened in 1964 and specialize in providing patients with the most appropriate treatment based on each individual patient’s age, disease type and the stage of the cancer, while all the while keeping a keen eye on the treatment’s long-term impact on the patient’s future.

How soon can a pediatric oncologist see my child after being referred?

Our dedicated pediatric oncologists make ever effort to see all new patients within 48 business hours.

Does the Cancer Institute offer all of the services my child will need in one location?

Cancer Institute patients are able to get all of their cancer-related services and procedures–chemotherapy, diagnostic services, radiation, bone marrow transplants, surgeries, and more–without having to leave the CHOC complex.

Does the Cancer Institute provide pain services?

At CHOC, we are proud to offer patients a variety of pain management options through traditional medications and alternative therapies like guided imagery and acupuncture and acupressure, among others. We are proud to offer our patients a variety of pain management options.

Does the Cancer Institute have treatment options for children who relapse?

The Cancer Institute has a special Recurrent and Refractory Treatment Program for patients whose cancers relapse. This program also provides treatment options for patients whose cancers do not respond to treatment or have stopped responding to treatment.

What types of psychosocial programs does the Cancer Institute offer?

The Cancer Institute has a dedicated psychology team that works with patients and families to help them cope with the emotional and psychological stress of cancer. Psychologists provide an initial consultation when the patient first meets with the Cancer Institute team and provides assessments throughout the patient’s hospitalization. Psychology services are then available as needed for patients, parents and siblings. The psychology team assesses and treats such issues as depression, anxiety, phobias (to medical procedures), anger, sleep difficulties, loss and grief and behavioral problems.

Will the same person coordinate my child’s care inside and outside of the hospital?

All new patients are immediately paired with a pediatric oncology nurse coordinator who serves as an advocate for the child and family throughout the patient’s course of treatment. The coordinator serves as a guide to navigating conferences with physicians and medical staff, facilitating appointments and ensuring seamless care between inpatient and outpatient services. The nurse coordinator also assists during the discharge planning process as well as providing patient education and other family support as needed.

Are the nurses specially trained in chemotherapy, biotherapy, end-of-life care and/or bone marrow transplant?

Many of our nurses are master’s-prepared, and all have specialized training in pediatric oncology, holding the highly respected Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON) or Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) designation. They are chemotherapy certified, and have Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Our nurses are among the finest in the country.

Want to learn more about the Hyundai Cancer Institute difference?

The associates at the Cancer Institute are dedicated to providing patients and their families with the very latest cancer treatments while always focusing on family-centered care. We understand that a cancer diagnoses can be very scary and we are by your side every step of the way.

Patients and families are encouraged to learn more about:

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