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Implementation of the Psychosocial Standards for Caregiver Mental Health Within a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program

Abstract

The assessment of mental health needs and access to appropriate interventions for parents and caregivers is one of 15 evidence-based standards for the psychosocial care of children with cancer and their families. The objectives of this paper are to describe one program's approach to meeting this standard in oncologic, hematologic, and immunologic populations and outline key ethical, regulatory, and logistical considerations in providing mental health services to caregivers in a pediatric medical setting. A description of the Caregiver Mental Health Program (CMHP) is provided along with a case example to illustrate key considerations, including multiple family members needing care, access to psychiatric services, scope of treatment, confidentiality and privacy, and logistics. Challenges in the development of the CMHP as well as the program’s benefits are discussed. Implementation of this standard of care will vary across institutions depending on various factors, such as staffing and programmatic resources and institutional culture.

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Correspondence to Lauren Szulczewski.

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Emily McTate, Lauren Szulczewski, Naomi E. Joffe, Sherilynn F. Chan, Ahna L. H. Pai declare that they have no conflict of interest. 

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

A retrospective chart review was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Due to the nature of the information being collected, an exception for obtaining informed consent was requested and granted.

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McTate, E., Szulczewski, L., Joffe, N.E. et al. Implementation of the Psychosocial Standards for Caregiver Mental Health Within a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 28, 323–330 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-020-09719-3

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Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Hematology/oncology
  • Standards for psychosocial care
  • Program development
  • Case example