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President's Theme 2021-2022

KRISTA NELSON Circle

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:  

  1. 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.  

  2. 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.  

  3. 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. 

Theme Announcement

 

Coffee Chats

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!

On-Demand Webinars

From Oncology Issues

  •  Trending Now in Cancer Care
    Alexandria Howson, PhD
    Rather than fielding its annual Trending Now in Cancer Care survey while cancer programs were experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the extended public health emergency, ACCC chose to facilitate conversations with its members to capture the lived experiences of the most pertinent issues impacting oncology practice and care delivery.
  •  Driving Oncology Forward
    Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW
    This next year, as we emerge out of COVID-19’s shadow and into a landscape that has been forever altered by the worldwide pandemic, it is important that we reflect on what we witnessed this past year—not only the suffering but the “wins.”
  •  Telehealth at Its Best: Transitioning a Comprehensive Psychosocial Program to a Virtual Format
    Jennifer Bires, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, and Drucilla Brethwaite, MSW, LCSW
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated risks for patients with cancer, all Life with Cancer programming was cancelled on Mar. 12, 2020. Staff, struggling with their own anxiety over personal safety, quickly went into action on how best to continue to meet the psychological and educational needs of patients and families.
  •  Community-Based Psychological First Aid for Oncology Professionals
    By Sam Gaster, MA; Christina Early, MSW; Amanda Reed, PhD; and Brandon Gray, MA
    Training in community-based psychological first aid is a promising intervention that promotes adaptive functioning by instilling individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support oneself and others when stressful events occur. The Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D., has conducted community-based psychological first aid for its workforce since August 2017.
  •  Bridging the Gap: A Family Program for Parents with Cancer and their Children
    By Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
    In 2004 Providence Cancer Center, Portland, Ore., saw that patients with children were struggling to communicate with their families about their illness and developed the Providence Family Program, which uses a group model to deliver early and ongoing intervention and support throughout the cancer care journey.

Video Podcast

 

Mindfulness Meditations

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.
Learn More

CANCER Buzz Podcasts

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 67: Coping with Pandemic Grief
    Sep 14, 2021
    In this special podcast episode, we talk with oncology social worker and ACCC President Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, about the overwhelming grief of the pandemic and its toll on cancer care professionals.  
  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 64: A Summer of Disconnect for Cancer Professionals
    Jul 20, 2021
    In this episode, we focus on the mental and emotional toll that COVID-19 continues to have on cancer care professionals—while much of the public experiences a “summer of joy” due to rising vaccinations.
  • [VIDEO PODCAST] Ep 01: Real-World Lessons from COVID-19
    May 27, 2021

    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.

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 28: Staff Resiliency During COVID-19
    Jul 7, 2020

    Krista Nelson, ACCC President 2021-22, shares how Providence Cancer Institute has made staff resiliency and morale a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • [MINI-PODCAST] Ep 14: COVID-19 Self-Care
    Mar 31, 2020

    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.

  • [PODCAST] Ep 02: Fostering Cancer Care Team Resiliency & Well-Being
    Jul 31, 2019
    Learn how organizations like Vidant Health and The Outer Banks Hospital are creating a healthier, more rewarding workplace by making employee wellness a strategic priority.

New On-Demand Webinar Can Help You Better Support Cancer Caregivers


February 25, 2021
Caregiver Blog photo (1)

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. 


References

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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