Supportive Oncology team, including Christopher Daugherty, MD

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we deliver compassionate care for our cancer patients. Supportive oncology provides the following outpatient services to support you and your family during cancer treatment:

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms and stressors of serious illness. Throughout your treatment, a team of doctors, nurses and other providers delivers this care to improve quality of life for both you and your family. We work closely with the oncology team to provide an extra layer of support and assist with care coordination with other supportive services. Comprehensive palliative care consultation includes assessment and management of patients' needs, including:

  • Advance care planning 
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Physical pain
  • Problems with sleep 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Screening and referral for emotional, psychological, spiritual care and financial counseling

Early nutrition intervention, including diet education and nutrition counseling and assessment, plays an important role in cancer treatment. We encourage you to make an appointment if you have any diet questions or are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing
  • Decreased appetite/oral intake
  • Dry mouth
  • Persistent diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Problems with feeding tubes
  • Weight loss

Physical/occupational therapy services can help you minimize secondary symptoms and maintain your functional independence and quality of life. Our medical providers can address many symptoms and issues, including:

Impairments

  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy
  • Pain
  • Range of motion

  • Scar management

  • Swelling/lymphedema

  • Weakness 

Functional Limitations

  • Decreased endurance
  • Diminished quality of life

  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to dress, feed or care for one’s self 
  • Loss of independence
  • Risk of falling

Our licensed clinical social workers offer support to help you and your family adjust to diagnosis and treatment, define and maintain your quality of life, and cope with life changes. We work in close collaboration with psychology/psychiatry services. Our team also offers assistance in completing advance directives such as the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Our social workers also can provide information and referral for resources related to:

  • Cancer support groups and community-based resources
  • Financial assistance programs
  • Help at home
  • Home palliative care or hospice care 
  • Information about disability or public benefits 
  • Mental health assessment and treatment
  • Referrals to cancer center insurance specialists
  • Short-term lodging for out-of-town patients
  • Transportation

Psychological and psychiatric services are available during cancer treatment and across the continuum of care (inpatient and outpatient). These services are provided by a multidisciplinary team involving psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, and includes:

  • Screening for psychological distress for all new patients
  • Identifying appropriate psychological services based on these screens
  • Integrating psychiatric services to address diagnostic and medical management of symptoms
  • Managing mood and behavioral symptoms while working with patients to help them cope with cancer

We offer an individualized, comprehensive approach to help you overcome nicotine addiction. Our multidisciplinary team is comprised of physicians, nurses and a tobacco treatment specialist. Social workers are also available to help patients access helpful resources as needed.

This outpatient suite provides a private, inviting and comforting space for patients and their loved ones to receive supportive services in one convenient location on the 6th floor of the UChicago Medicine Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) - Hyde Park

[MUSIC PLAYING] The University of Chicago Medicine provides the very best in cancer care. That care involves innovative treatments and compassion for our patients. We believe in treating more than just the disease. We want our patients to have the best quality of life possible after initial diagnosis and treatment. 

This is a set of services that we know cancer patients need. They go beyond and outside of that to support them through their diagnosis and their treatment and even into survivorship stages of their lives. So it's these ancillary services that support patients through the physical trials that they have, the emotional traumas that come with the diagnosis. 

And all those services-- so whether it's nutritional support or psychosocial support or physical therapy support, even spiritual support, it's bringing those services to the patient to try to reduce the burdens of the disease or the burdens of the therapy. 

Cancer patients know the Coleman Foundation Supportive Oncology Outpatient Care Suite is a place where they can go for help on a wide range of issues. 

You just love them. Every time I'm done with treatment, I come in. I stop by and I sit down with them if they're here. Or whoever's here, I'll sit down and speak with them or something. It's a very friendly and welcoming place. 

The caring staff helps each person deal with the unique challenges they face during their cancer fight. 

It's critical. I mean, it's the most important thing, having multidisciplinary staff and having multidisciplinary care. It really improves their quality of life, and it's very, very important. 

There's a lot of evidence to suggest that people do better in their treatment if they have the supportive services in addition to the actual interventions by the physicians and the nurses. 

Cancer and cancer treatments take a toll on each person's physical and emotional well-being. That's why supportive oncology services are so important. 

You may cure their cancer, but the trauma, physical, emotional, spiritual trauma that's left from the diagnosis and the therapy can so damage a patient and their family that, even with a successful cured outcome, they're patients that are still suffering. And so we know we need to bring these services earlier at diagnosis throughout the cancer care trajectory to be able to really have a successful outcome. 

This is a place where patients can go to get help with almost any aspect of dealing with their cancer battle. It's a place that provides hope and healing. 

If you're feeling down or having a bad day, come over. I'll guarantee you that they will brighten up your day. They will help you with any problems that you have, or just someone to speak to and to vent. 

It's so satisfying. It makes me want to do what I do. That's why I come in every day. If I can see somebody improve and know that I helped even just a little bit, it makes it all worth it. 

Supportive oncology care at UChicago Medicine would treat the whole patient, not just the disease. 

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Male patient clasping hands, doctor taking notes
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