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Professional & Non-Professional Emotional Support

Professional Emotional Support

No parent is ready to hear, “your child has cancer”. It is one of the single most overwhelming experiences one can possibly face. You feel completely alone and lost in the world. The CHOC Psychosocial team helps make the journey a little more bearable and not so lonely.

The diagnosis of cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder in a child is devastating with far-reaching psychosocial and emotional implications for the child and family. The CHOC Psychosocial Support Programme consists of a team of social workers/counsellors and social auxiliary workers who are based at the paediatric oncology units to provide psychosocial and emotional support to the patients and their families throughout their cancer journey. Their intervention alleviates the impact of the diagnosis and treatment and helps the families to access internal and external resources, which helps them to come to terms with and take ownership of their situation. In instances where the outcome of treatment is not positive, the social worker/counsellor facilitates palliative, end-of-life care to ensure quality of life and dignity. Bereavement support is provided afterwards to help families through this very difficult time.

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Support in your Region

List of paediatric haematology oncology units with a CHOC Social Worker.

CHOC Gauteng South Region has two social workers and two social auxiliary workers. One of each are serving Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH).

Contact CHOC Gauteng South

The Northern Region has a child and family support counsellor serving Netcare Unitas Hospital, Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Pretoria.

Contact CHOC Northern Region

The Eastern Cape Region has two CHOC social workers, one serving Frere Hospital in East London and another PE Provincial Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

Contact CHOC Eastern Cape Region

KwaZulu-Natal has one CHOC social worker serving both Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and Netcare Parklands Hospital.

Contact CHOC KwaZulu-Natal

The Western Cape Region has one social worker and one social auxiliary worker at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Contact CHOC Western Cape Region

The Free State and Namakwa Region has one CHOC social worker serving Universitas Academic Hospital.

Contact CHOC Free State and Namakwa Region

Non-Professional Emotional Support

Emotional support is also provided through less formal support such as survivor groups, parent-supporting-parent groups, volunteers supporting patients and parents, bereavement support and CHOC’s interactive learning programme at the Paediatric Oncology units. This support is one of the core services provided in the regions. The regions host parent groups monthly to address concerns in a light-hearted environment that brings emotional relief to the families, while addressing crucial concerns that parents face. Weekly tea and sandwiches are served regionally to parents and children at the wards and outpatient clinics.

CHOC’s Interactive Learning Programme focuses on patient skills and educational development. This is essential at those hospitals who do not have a hospital school. The lengthy period of time that the children are out of school creates many challenges and as such, we focus on skills and activities to bridge the gap.

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Ward volunteers

Ward volunteers assist the psychosocial support team in providing support to the families in the paediatric haematology oncology units. They have undergone a thorough two-day CHOC training workshop and provide daily activities to the children in the form of arts, crafts and other activities.

House volunteers

Volunteers spend their time at CHOC accommodation facilities, playing with the children, reading, painting and baking. Some assist with the maintenance of the buildings and gardens, while some lend an ear to parents who need to talk.

Parent-supporting-parent volunteers

Parents who have walked the cancer journey are trained by CHOC to be able to provide care and support to parents of children who are newly diagnosed.

Survivors supporting CHOC programmes

Survivors of childhood cancer are actively involved in promoting and advocating for childhood cancer. They are active in the regions, offering their time to participate in events, promote CHOC in the media and visit children and families in the houses and hospitals.

Find out more about our other CHOC programmes