Mental Health, Neuropsychological and Neurodevelopmental Services
There is much research-supported evidence validating the real-life experience that children and families benefit from psychosocial support to reduce distress both during and after cancer treatment. The psychosocial support services provided need to cover a spectrum - from psychosocial assessment and support with counseling and other modalities; to neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental monitoring and assistance to children whose cancer, therapy or late effects may result in learning or behavioral challenges.
Services would include:
- Routine systematic assessments of the psychosocial health care needs of the patient and family members by a qualified professional throughout treatment and afterwards
- Regular patient assessments to evaluate things such as social and relationship difficulties; distress, anxiety, and depression; and/or risky health behavior.
- Access to psychosocial support and intervention (counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, other) in response to assessment findings
- Early and ongoing assessments of the mental health needs of the parents and caregivers, with access to appropriate interventions
- Psychosocial support for siblings of the child with cancer (since they are an at-risk group for difficulties), including education to parents on ways to anticipate and meet siblings’ needs
- Opportunities for social interactions for the child with cancer, in keeping with their unique characteristics, such as developmental level, preferences for social interaction, and health status
- Access to neuropsychological testing, evaluation, and assistance for subgroups of children with special needs in this area – those with tumors of the central nervous system; acute lymphoblastic leukemia; diseases requiring radiation to the head, including those receiving total body irradiation prior to a bone marrow or stem cell transplant; very young children who received intensive chemotherapy and had prolonged hospitalizations because of treatment and side effects; other children with specific concerns about their school performance, learning, or development