Support Groups and Other Programs

Our team coordinates a number of programs and groups to provide hope and support for families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Please read below to learn about some of our major services.

For Patients

KICS (Kids in Chemotherapy and Their Students) is a program that was created in partnership with Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). Each 1st year medical student at TUSM is paired with a child who is undergoing cancer treatment at Floating Hospital. The KICS group meets twice a month with guidance from the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology social worker. The KICS group also organizes annual field trips, holiday parties and a dinner featuring a speaker from the Division. The medical students and their patient partners truly develop lasting relationships. The students have attended patients’ weddings, gone on family trips to Disney World and have maintained lifelong friendships.

Teens either in or off cancer treatment, form the Shooting Stars group who meet on a regular basis to discuss specific needs of teens living with and surviving cancer.

Medical play is used to help your child become more familiar with the hospital surroundings and to cope with their healthcare experiences. This type of play helps your child process their fears, anxieties and other reactions to their experiences. It is also an opportunity for us to clarify any questions or misunderstandings about the hospital or their treatment.

Albert the Therapy Dog visits the kids staying at the hospital every Wednesday afternoon. Pet therapy helps provide social and emotional support, has been known to lower blood pressure and ease anxiety. The patients, families and staff of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology love having therapy dog visitors!

Our team brings Music Therapy into the treatment plans for many of our patients. We have a Music Therapist who visits our patients often and works with them to help improve their mood and provide a space where patient can express their feelings.

The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology social worker has also started a program called “Songcology." The social worker writes songs for patients at their request (or at the request of their parents). The songs can be a powerful way to inspire and/or remember a patient. We will also be starting a program called “Concerts in the Clinic” where talented staff members will play music for our patients and families to enjoy. Music is a scientifically documented way of easing stressful circumstances and can be a great way to pass the time while waiting to see a doctor or nurse.

We provide tutoring for our pediatric patients to give them the opportunity to maintain their schoolwork and obtain academic credit for work completed during their stay in the hospital. Providing tutoring services also helps to maintain a sense of continuity of normal life experiences for our pediatric patients.

Our School Reentry Program was designed to assist and ease children in returning to school. By visiting the classroom prior to a patients resuming their studies, Child Life Specialists and a Social Worker share with teachers and classmates information that will ease the patients path back to school.  They educate classmates and teachers on what to expect with their friend's return; how they might look and what they might need from their classmates and teachers.

For Siblings

VIBS (Very Important Brothers and Sisters), provides support to siblings living with a brother or sister in treatment.  A pediatric cancer diagnosis can often be confusing and painful for the child’s siblings. We have created the VIBS group so that these siblings can have a healthy place where they can express themselves. The VIBS group meets occasionally, often on the weekend to engage in a fun activity (like getting pizza or going to a movie) and meet other kids who are in their shoes.

For Parents + Caregivers

PAG Cares is the Parent Advisory Group for Floating Hospital's Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. The group works to improve quality of care and support the growth of the Division. PAG Cares incorporates anonymous suggestions from parents and patients into making improvements in the clinic. PAG Cares also fundraises for the clinic by selling greeting cards made by the kids and participating in development events like Cycle for Life through its PAG Cares Fund.

Our Parent Support Group is a weekly support/education group run by the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology social worker and parent consultant which includes parents of children who are currently receiving inpatient care. The support group embraces the needs of parents and extended family as they work through every phase of treatment. It gives parents and caregivers a place to talk about what their families are going through with other parents who are in similar situations and understand how they feel.

The financial burden of having a child in cancer treatment can often be stressful for parents and caregivers. At for Children, our Hematology/Oncology Division has set up a number of Patient Support Funds through donations from past patient families and other groups. Some of the support funds we provide include:

  • Sophie’s Families First Fund – provides food vouchers for families
  • Jennifer Creed Fund – provides assistance with patient and family travel costs
  • Alexander the Great – a fund that provides assistance for the extended family (ex. Grandparents) while they visit a child receiving cancer treatment
  • Sweet Pea Fund
  • Family Reach – assists families with timely bill pay  
  • Cops for Kids with Cancer – a group of local law enforcement officers who raise money that is given directly to the families of pediatric cancer patients

The Bereavement Group is a monthly support group for patients and adult siblings of patients who have passed away. The group is facilitated by the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology social worker. It provides a powerful and irreplaceable way for parents who have lost children to cancer to share and learn from one another’s experiences.

View a PDF of our Parent Handbook.

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