Published: 12/19/2013

Evangelical’s Cancer Survivorship Program Holds First-Ever Couples Retreat

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 12 million Americans are living with a history of cancer. Recognizing the impact the disease has on these individuals, and the families who love and support them, Evangelical’s Cancer Survivorship Program is making strides to help in new ways.
 
The Survivorship Program recently held a couples retreat at The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park, Howard, Pa. The weekend was an opportunity for breast cancer survivors and their spouses to escape outside influences while receiving access to tools to help them as couples to strengthen their commitment to each other on the other side of the cancer diagnosis.
 
The getaway featured professionally facilitated large and small group discussions focusing on each couple’s journey with cancer, large group instruction in healing touch led by certified massage therapists trained in specialized techniques for working with oncology patients, breathing and yoga exercises, as well as a time to connect and become centered with a nature walk.
 
Special sessions focused on the role of humor and fun to facilitate healthy coping in addition to the importance of wellness in mind, body, and spirit. A meaningful part of the retreat program was having a guest couple share their personal journey. The sharing included their challenges and triumphs with cancer and beyond, areas other couples of the retreat may be going or have gone through in their own lives.
 
“Survivorship begins at the time of initial diagnosis and spans each individual’s lifetime. We recognize support may be needed well after the direct medical needs have been addressed. The Survivorship Program at Evangelical offers a comprehensive support system to our patients and their families as they progress from diagnosis to treatment to life after treatment,” said Michael Hayes, PhD, Licensed Psychologist and Evangelical Survivorship Program Director.
 
The Survivorship Program at Evangelical helps patients before, during, and after the active phase of cancer treatment - to enrich their lives, to empower them to thrive, and to embrace life to the fullest.
 
Dr. Hayes said, “The couples retreat was extremely well received by participants and staff alike. Witnessing the benefits experienced by each couple on multiple levels, we would like to hold the event annually, joining Evangelical’s other survivorship initiatives such as the I Can Cope dinner and support series and the Survivor Assistance Program (SAP) that addresses other areas of concern, including relationships, financial and legal stresses, and work and career challenges. In addition, Evangelical has added a full-time cancer program nurse navigator who actively works with survivors to coordinate care planning. These services help us fulfill our mission of comprehensive care for survivors of all forms of cancer.”
 
Through the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health, Evangelical has long held the position of providing additional services for patients such as high-risk and survivorship clinics and one-on-one guidance from diagnosis to life after diagnosis, placing it among the most comprehensive centers in the Commonwealth.
For more information about Evangelical Community Hospital’s survivorship program, call 570-522-2850.
 
Evangelical Community Hospital received the Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award in 2013 for the fifth consecutive year, making it one of two hospitals in Pennsylvania to be recognized for consistent, positive patient experience.
 
Evangelical is a non-profit organization that employs approximately 1,460 people and has more than 170 employed and non-employed physicians on staff. The Hospital is licensed to accommodate 132 overnight patients, 12 acute rehab patients and 18 bassinets. The Hospital serves residents throughout the Central Susquehanna Valley, including those living in Snyder, Union, Northumberland, and Lycoming Counties.