We recognize that adolescents and young adults with cancer experience unique challenges during this significant period of their development when they are becoming more independent, establishing relationships, going to school and starting careers, as well as exploring their sexuality and forming their own worldview.
That’s why Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital created the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program, thanks to a grant from Hyundai Hope on Wheels. The program’s name is C.H.A.T. Room (Cancer /Healing/Adolescents/Talking).
We offer each teen and young adult an individualized approach to care that is centered around their needs, their age (which impacts their medical care), and their psychosocial needs.
We provide educational material to each teen and young adult in a format that they like to use, which includes a care guide on a flash drive and other cancer information that is geared toward the needs of this age group.
In addition, patient ambassadors -- survivors who have experienced similar situations and are trained in peer support -- are available to new patients to help them use the services we provide just for teens and young adults.
The C.H.A.T. Room provides a new type of outreach to teens by providing crucial peer support, friendships, and education on age-specific topics at quarterly social outings. This program provides AYA cancer patients with opportunities to socialize with their peers and, without the presence of parents, promoting the independence they want.
Our teen-focused psychosocial support services promote health, treatment compliance, and long-term wellness through education and a continued relationship with Wolfson and Nemours for medical care through the teen’s transition into adulthood and adult care providers.
In addition, Pablo Saldana, PhD, a vocational rehabilitation specialist, helps teens to plan for their future careers by achieving their goals at school and preparing for their the work world as a young adult with cancer or as a long-term cancer survivor. Dr. Salanda provides each teen with an individualized vocational assessment, IEP or 504 plan consultations, and assistance with educational accommodations, career planning, transition to adult-oriented health care, and more.
We know that while adolescents and young adults may not be thinking about having children at this point in their lives, it may become an important concern in the future. Our fertility preservation team, which includes a pediatric oncologist (cancer physician), social worker and nurse, meets with newly diagnosed patients prior to treatment to discuss options available to them for the future, when they may want to have children. We work with reproductive endocrinologists in the area to provide options.
For additional information call 904.697.3789