Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW was named president of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) on Friday, March 5, at the ACCC 47th Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit. Ms. Nelson will lead ACCC for the next year, as oncology professionals work to tackle critical issues in cancer care post-pandemic.
Each year, ACCC invites its president to select a theme for their tenure that addresses a timely issue in cancer care through the creation of programs and resources. The theme of Ms. Nelson’s presidency will be “Real-World Lessons from COVID-19: Driving Oncology Care Forward.”
This year-long President’s Theme will focus on three key lessons:
Health equity and social justice are critical drivers of quality cancer care, and practice-based solutions are needed that reduce barriers and improve health outcomes.
The escalating need for high reach, high impact psychosocial and supportive care services require innovative care delivery models that demonstrate measurable value to the oncology ecosystem.
Strengthening a culture that supports professional well-being and resilience is essential to practice sustainability, and provider and patient satisfaction.
“Oncology professionals have shown remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of extraordinary challenges,” said Nelson. “Without a doubt, our community will use the lessons we’ve learned this past year to develop a blueprint for moving forward.”
The resources and tools that will be developed in conjunction with Ms. Nelson’s President’s Theme will be posted to this webpage as they become available.
During her term, Ms. Nelson will host six virtual Coffee Chats—intimate and interactive conversations to better understand how ACCC can support your needs during this pivotal time in oncology. To express interest in participating, please email us!
An expert panel reviews currently available data on cancer care disparities, discusses the needs of disadvantaged populations, and shares practical solutions and methods for implementing bias training. (April 20, 2021)
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Association of Community Cancer Centers Names New President: Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
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To help members of the cancer care team better manage stress and improve their overall well-being, Ms. Nelson—and several special guests—are hosting a Mindfulness Meditation series.
We sat down with ACCC President Krista Nelson, on how her personal experiences during the pandemic—and those of her colleagues and patients—deeply impacted her and influenced the development of her 2021-2022 ACCC President’s Theme.
Krista Nelson, ACCC President 2021-22, shares how Providence Cancer Institute has made staff resiliency and morale a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Krista Nelson, ACCC President 2021-22, shares self-care resources for cancer team members during the COVID-19 outbreak and guides us through a brief mindfulness exercise.
One member of your cancer care team who plays an essential role yet often goes unrecognized is a patient’s caregiver. With the added work caregivers have had in the past year to keep their loved ones safe during the pandemic, the work they do is even more important today. To support cancer care teams looking to address the critical role caregivers play in patient support, ACCC recently launched a free, one-hour, on-demand webinar. In Effectively Engaging Caregivers to Support Your Older Adult Patients With Cancer, three experts on caregiving teach cancer care team members strategies for assessing and engaging patients’ caregivers and giving them the tools and resources they need to support their loved ones.
Caring for caregivers is often an unmet need in the United States. In this country, more than 40 million individuals help support and care for their aged, ill, or disabled loved ones. Of those, approximately 2.8 million care for family members with cancer. Caregivers often provide services to their loved ones that no one else can, making it crucial that they are recognized and supported as essential members of the healthcare team.
The emotional and physical support that caregivers provide can take many forms, including:
Helping with the activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing, meal prep)
Assisting with the instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., making calls, doing chores, providing transportation, tracking finances)
Performing medical tasks such as injections, tube feedings, catheter, colostomy and tracheostomy care
Monitoring treatment side effects
What Makes Cancer Caregivers Unique?
Cancer and its treatment can lead to a multitude of complicated symptoms and side effects, and the course of the disease can run for years or even decades, making the challenges faced by these caregivers unique. Given that the majority of people diagnosed with cancer are older, most of their caregivers support a loved one older than age 65. Compared to caregivers of individuals with other chronic illnesses, cancer caregivers spend more hours per day providing care, provide more intensive care during a shorter period of time, and are more likely to incur out-of-pocket expenses. Individuals with cancer may also:
Periodically require highly skilled care in outpatient or home settings
Experience rapid health deterioration
Be more likely to receive multi-modal therapies
Experience variable symptoms and toxicities
Experience anxiety due to a continual fear of recurrence
The physical and emotional toll of caregiving is real. More than one-half of cancer caregivers report experiencing high levels of stress. Cancer caregivers are more likely to report depressive symptoms and problems with fatigue and sleep, and they are less likely to practice preventive health measures. And more than one-half of cancer caregivers report that they are struggling financially.
To fully understand the specific needs of cancer caregivers, it’s helpful to know their demographics.
Who Are Cancer Caregivers?
Average age is 63
65% are women
66% of are spouses; 17% are children; 4% are parents; 3% are friends/neighbors
36% report being in fair to poor health
Most are the sole caregiver of the patient
60% do not have a college degree
64% have a household income of less than $75,000/year
All members of the cancer care team—from physicians to nurses to social workers—can benefit from participating in the free, on-demand webinar, Effectively Engaging Caregivers to Support Your Older Adult Patients With Cancer. Encourage your colleagues to download it today and start learning more about how to best support the people who support your patients.
Thank you to EMD Serono for supporting this effort through its Embracing CarersTM program.
National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute. Caregiving in the United States 2015 Report. Available online at: https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2015/caregiving-in-the-united-states-2015-report-revised.pdf. Published June 2015.
Bluethmann S, Mariotto A, Rowland J. Anticipating the ‘Silver Tsunami’: Prevalence trajectories and co-morbidity burden among older cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016;25(7):1029–1036.
Jayani R, Hurria A. Caregivers of older adults with cancer. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2014;28(4):221-225.
Hsu T, Loscalzo M, Ramani R, Forman S, et al. Factors associated with high burden in caregivers of older adults with cancer. Cancer. 2014;120(18):2927-2935.
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