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The CHOC Psychosocial Programme started with 1 social worker in 2004 and has grown to 10 social workers and 3 social auxiliary workers in 2021!


South Africa (19 November 2021) – The growth in numbers of the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA Psychosocial Programme is an indication of the valuable role that the psychosocial programme plays in the holistic patient care in a Paediatric Oncology Unit (POU).

Through their skill and expertise and working closely with the medical and nursing staff, the social and social auxiliary workers provide essential psychosocial and emotional support services to the children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder, and their families.

They guide and support the patient and family throughout the long treatment journey, from the time the news of the cancer diagnosis breaks (bridging the gap by explaining the medical jargon in layman’s terms to ensure a clear understanding of the illness and treatment process), until the outcome of treatment; whether it is cure and reintegration into their community or, sadly end-of-life care and bereavement support.

The psychosocial team also plays an integral role in preparing the patient and parent for medical treatment procedures, using material that involves all the senses. Verbal explanations, combined with books and visual and sound materials are used to prepare them for procedures; and therapeutic play is used to orientate them to medical equipment. Distraction techniques are used to divert the patient’s attention during painful medical procedures and this helps them to manage pain.

Ongoing counselling is provided throughout the journey, with consistent interaction between the families and the social workers, trust is built which makes the overall experience that much more bearable.

There was a strong call for the return of the psychosocial staff to the wards soon after the hard lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19 last year. Not only was mental health a concern amongst our patients but ensuring that the patients adhere to treatment. This is testimony to the value of the team in the treatment journey of childhood cancer.

Would you like to get involved with CHOC?

Even if you are unable to make a financial commitment to CHOC at this point, you could still help share the message of hope. In fact, they believe that is what family is all about – speaking with one voice.

It is the little things that make a huge difference in our CHOC family. There are some truly awesome ways that we believe you could be involved and join the family that stands together through it all.

Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • You can be a voice of hope for CHOC
  • If sport is something you enjoy, you can join the CHOC Cows
  • Give a gift in memory of a loved one
  • If you have a special celebration coming up, instead of gifts you can donate to CHOC
  • Join a loyalty programme which supports CHOC
  • Donate your miles via Discovery MoveToGive here
  • Volunteer your time

Contact for more details!

Sources: CHOC 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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