Cancer Center Support Services
Cancer not only affects you physically — it also has an undeniable impact on your emotional well-being, as well as that of the people who care about you. To support you and your family during your cancer journey, we provide many support services. You can count on us every step of the way to provide these services with compassion, sensitivity and respect.
Behavioral Health Services at UMass Memorial Medical Center
Our clinical health psychologists offer support for the emotional and physical side effects of cancer during and after treatment, which can include fatigue, worry, sadness, and depression. We can help you with the impact of cancer on your family, decision-making about treatment, survivorship and fear of reoccurrence. We also teach relaxation and coping strategies that have been shown to be beneficial during times of stress.
You can also find support through the UMass Memorial Palliative Care team. While palliative care historically was focused on patients for whom there is no cure, it has been found to be most effective to begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment and follow-up care.
Behavioral Health Services in the Community
|Beacon of Hope Therapy and Consultation Services
Brenda Nagle-Packard, LICSW
|Agents of Change Counseling
Kristin Bornstein, LMHC
Telehealth also available
(508) 915-3775 x1
|Juan Ramos-Ayes, PsyD
Languages: English, Spanish
|Serene Skies Counseling
Nejla Sezar, LMHC
Languages: English, Turkish
Cancer Survivorship Program
UMass Memorial Health is proud to offer a Cancer Survivorship Program to help those living with and those free of cancer.
Clinical Social Work
The UMass Memorial Health Cancer Center recognizes that patients, their families, and friends are confronted with life-changing circumstances when they are diagnosed with cancer. Clinical social workers are trained to provide support to you and your family in dealing with the medical, emotional and social issues that a cancer diagnosis can raise for you and your loved ones.
Social work services may be accessed at any time. We can help with you the following issues:
- Coping with illness
- Medical insurance
- Financial concerns
- Disability coverage
- Crisis intervention
- Information and referral
- Other topics not listed (just ask!)
Please do not hesitate to ask your treatment team to connect you with a social worker or feel free to reach out to us directly at the numbers below.
- Amanda Desjardin, LICSW
- Practice focuses on patients with head and neck cancers and all patients receiving radiation therapy at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus and Memorial Campus
- (774) 441-6432
- Devorath Ruiz, LICSW
- Practice focuses on breast cancer and hemophilia patients at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus and all patients at UMass Memorial Health – Marlborough Hospital
- (774) 441-6469
- Christina Keenan, LCSW
- Practice focuses on all other cancer patients at the Medical Center – University Campus and the Medical Center – Memorial Campus
- (774) 441-6081
Community Support Services
Learn more about other organizations offering support services to cancer patients and their families.
For your convenience and peace of mind, UMass Memorial has financial counselors available to help you understand your health insurance benefits. In fact, a dedicated financial counselor is available just for patients who are dealing with cancer.
Patient Financial Services is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm. There’s also a financial counselor located on the first floor of the Ambulatory Care Center. This office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm, and Tuesday and Thursday, 8 am to noon.
For assistance for financial matters please contact one of our financial coordinators:
Qualified medical interpreters who speak about 20 languages and American Sign Language assist patients and families who do not speak English, have limited English proficiency, or are deaf or hard of hearing. These interpreters are available free of charge, 24 hours a day.
Livestrong® Program at the YMCA
Certified instructors available through the Livestrong® Program at the YMCA provide a supportive, safe environment for each class and have undergone specialized training in the areas of cancer, post-rehab exercise, nutrition, and supportive cancer care.
We are actively working with Jamie Faro, PhD with UMass Chan Medical School on other programs to improve physical activity during and following cancer treatments. Ask your care team for more information.
As you progress through treatment, you may require adjustments to your diet. If this is the case, you’ll be referred to our oncology dietitian for nutritional counseling. This one-on-one counseling is available to ensure that you consume a proper diet while undergoing treatment, or to help manage excessive weight gain or loss as a result of your treatment. If you’d like to meet with our dietitian, please tell your doctor or nurse.
Oncology Specialty Pharmacy
We have a team of pharmacists who specialize in cancer-fighting medications and the development of chemotherapy treatment guidelines. They are available to consult with your care team and help determine precise chemotherapy dosing, and they coordinate safe and timely administration of chemotherapy and other medicines.
Our Cancer Center also has a team of dedicated staff members who can help obtain prior authorization for your cancer medications. Prior authorization from your insurance company is required three to five days before the start of your treatment. In addition to providing intravenous chemotherapy medications, our pharmacy can fill many of your outpatient prescriptions, which can be dispensed to you while you receive your treatment — saving you an additional trip.
For your convenience, our oncology pharmacy is located on the sixth floor of the Ambulatory Care Center, adjacent to the outpatient infusion area and the outpatient blood and marrow transplantation area.
Patient and Family Support Groups
Undergoing cancer treatment can be an isolating and difficult experience for both you and your family. That’s why we encourage you and your loved ones to reach out for support.
Our cancer support group offer a safe, compassionate environment for open discussion, exchange of information and sharing of experiences. An experienced social worker facilitates each group and is available for assistance after each meeting. The group are open to anyone with a past or present cancer diagnosis. Family, friends and significant others are invited to attend.
Patient Partner Program
We are in the early stages of building this program that pairs current patients with volunteer mentors who have received care at UMass Memorial Health. Learn more about how the Patient Partner Program provides supportive relationship for cancer patients as they progress along their cancer journey. We are currently recruiting volunteer mentors who can share words of advice, wisdom and encouragement to Cancer Center patients.
If cancer treatment has affected your physical strength or ability to function normally, you may benefit from physical or occupational therapy. If this is the case, you’ll be referred to the UMass Memorial Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Department. Physical therapists and occupational therapists can design an individualized program to help you regain your strength and improve your everyday functional capabilities. Outpatient rehabilitation services are located on our Hahnemann Campus.
Additionally, there are local physical therapy practices to which we refer our patients. And patients often find support through alternative providers, like acupuncturists.
Focuses on outpatient neurological rehabilitation with features such as specialty credential physical therapies, occupational therapy, and long-term therapy programs
Select Physical Therapy - Worcester, Westborough, Chelmsford
Offers experience in neurological and vestibular rehabilitation
102 Shore Dr., Worcester, MA
Monday - Friday; hours vary
154 East Main St., Westborough, MA
Monday - Friday; hours vary
4 Meeting House Rd, Suite 4 and 5, Chelmsford, MA
Monday - Friday; hours vary
Greendale Physical Therapy - Multiple Locations
Offer experience in neurological and vestibular rehabilitation. Services vary based on location
280 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, MA
Monday - Friday; 9 am to 5 pm
Experience working with patients experiencing side effects of neurological and oncological conditions
381 Park Avenue, Worcester, MA
- Participates in numerous Blue Cross and Harvard Pilgrim insurance plans among other payment plans/discounts
- Fluent in multiple languages