An array of services exists to address the varied psychosocial problems and needs (summarized in Chapter 1) that often accompany cancer and its treatment (see Table 3-1). As defined in Chapter 2, psychosocial health services are those psychological and social services that enable patients, their families, and health care providers to optimize biomedical health

TABLE 3-1 Psychosocial Needs and Formala Services to Address Them

Psychosocial Need

Health Services

Information about illness, treatments, health, and services

  • Provision of information, e.g., on illness, treatments, effects on health, and psychosocial services, and help to patients/ families in understanding and using the information

Help in coping with emotions accompanying illness and treatment

  • Peer support programs

  • Counseling/psychotherapy to individuals or groups

  • Pharmacological management of mental symptoms

Help in managing illness

  • Comprehensive illness self-management/self-care programs

Assistance in changing behaviors to minimize impact of disease

  • Behavioral/health promotion interventions, such as:

    • Provider assessment/monitoring of health behaviors (e.g., smoking, exercise)

    • Brief physician counseling

    • Patient education, e.g., in cancer-related health risks and risk-reduction measures

Material and logistical resources, such as transportation

  • Provision of resources

Help in managing disruptions in work, school, and family life

  • Family and caregiver education

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, chores

  • Legal protections and services, e.g., under Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act

  • Cognitive testing and educational assistance

Financial advice and/or assistance

  • Financial planning/counseling, including management of day-to-day activities such as bill paying

  • Insurance (e.g., health, disability) counseling

  • Eligibility assessment/counseling for other benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Income)

  • Supplement financial grants

aThe committee notes that, as discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, family members and friends and other informal sources of support are key providers of psychosocial health services. This table includes only formal sources of psychosocial support—those that must be secured through the assistance of an organization or agency that in some way enables the provision of needed services (sometimes at no cost or through volunteers).

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