Collaborative Care

We understand the journey taken when a child or teen is diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder can seem complicated and overwhelming for everyone at times.  If English is not your first language, it might feel that much scarier.  The cancer and blood disorders team includes a patient/family advocate for families with limited proficiency in English.  Currently available for our Spanish- and Hmong-speaking families, the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Patient Family Advocate is a consistent member of your team, providing a wide range of services designed to help you and your family feel confident in all aspects of your care experience.  Services include:

-         language interpretation between English and your language at all of your appointments throughout the hospital system through a professional medical interpreter with specialization in the area of hematology/oncology

-         individualized medication calendars in your language

-         general system navigation

-         familiarity with both your culture and your providers’ to help you understand each other better

-         assistance with other services, such as arranging transportation, resolving billing and insurance issues, etc.

To reach the LEP Patient Family Advocate for the cancer and blood disorders program, please call Stephanie Gil at (612) 813-7706.  Contact information for our Hmong advocate will soon be available.

For families who need an interpreter in other languages, Children’s provides qualified medical interpreters with skills in every spoken language and American Sign Language.  Click here to learn more about interpreter services at Children’s.

The School Re-entry Program at Children’s, established in 1983, helps children and teens with challenging medical problems address issues of returning to school. Through the program, child life specialist can help de-mystify a medical condition, decrease classmates’ fears, model appropriate, respectful language to describe a health problem, and help decrease the likelihood of rumors or teasing. Many helpful strategies occur through sharing information between the school and staff at Children’s. However, a school visit by a Children’s child life specialist may also occur.

Common scenarios where school visits may be helpful include the following: 

  • Your child/teen is newly diagnosed with a chronic illness.
  • Your child/teen experiences long absences from school related to a medical condition.
  • Your child/teen has experienced major changes in treatment or physical appearance.
  • Your child/teen or siblings have expressed a health-related concern about the school setting.

Child life specialists provide 250 school visits per year, largely to patients in Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders program. In recent years, the school re-entry program also has served patients with diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, cardiac conditions, neuro-muscular disorders, trauma patients, and children in hospice care. In the program, child life specialists: 

  • Assess medical and developmental needs related to school readiness.
  • Work with the patient, family members, teachers, school nurses, counselors, and/or principals to plan a classroom visit.
  • Provide a developmentally based curriculum, which may include photos of the hospital environment, a video/photo story illustrating your child/teen’s condition or experiences in the hospital, and/or a medical play session.
  • Follow up with teacher surveys, letters for classmates to bring home to parents, or other activities. 

For more information about the School Re-Entry Program, please contact the Child Life department at 612.813.6259.    

The job of a child or teen is to grow and develop, and a cancer or blood disorders diagnosis can make that job more difficult. We believe, however, that even people with serious diseases can benefit from therapies to promote wellness and holistic healing. Our approach considers all aspects of disease and wellness, including the mind, body and spirit, and to help your child learn important self-care skills. We partner with our Integrative Medicine department and your child to provide massage, healing touch, biofeedback and other complementary services. We have oncologists and nurse practitioners trained in integrative therapies who can help you navigate the confusing world of complementary and alternative therapies for cancer and blood diseases. We stress non-invasive, innovative therapies that can be used with conventional therapies to improve quality of life and decrease possible side-effects of therapy. The Cancer and Blood Disorders Integrative Medicine Program includes:

At Children’s, our physical therapists on the cancer and blood disorders team work full time with children and teens coping with cancer and blood disorders. Physical therapy ensures that, as much as possible, your child is able to:

  • Participate in regular daily activities.
  • Develop physical skills appropriate to age.
  • Be as independent as possible.
  • Minimize the impact of chemotherapy side effects on physical activity

Within the Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic, physical therapists work with patients in a dedicated physical therapy gym used for evaluations as well as treatment sessions. The gym has specialized equipment for assessing a child’s walk and determining the impact of chemotherapy on walking.

Physical therapists work with children on an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Learn more about general rehabilitation services at Children’s

Contact us:

If you are a family member with questions about physical therapy or if you’d like to make an appointment, call Children’s – Minneapolis at (612) 813-5940.

If you are a health professional looking for a consultation or referral information, please call Children’s Physician Access at 1-866-755-2121 (toll-free).

When your child is diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder, you have the very best physicians and treatments available at Children’s. As part of our commitment to treating your whole family, Children’s also works with departments across the system to provide other services designed to make your hospital stay more comfortable to your child and to your entire family.

Learn more about our program