The Oncology and Haematology Social Workers within the Regional Specialist Team offer a dedicated social work service to children and young people who have a either a cancer, haematology or haemophilia diagnosis and whose primary treatment centre is Leeds.
For patients with a haematology or haemophilia diagnosis we can support from birth to eighteen years and through the transition to adult services. For oncology patients we can support up to the age of twenty-four and again through transition.
The involvement of the Social Worker often begins at diagnosis. A key role is to help families receive integrated health, social care and education services. The support they receive is very individual and includes any or all of the following; emotional support (coping with the diagnosis, support for the child, parents and siblings as well as extended family), financial help, signposting to welfare benefits support, liaison with schools, colleges and universities, liaison with employers, housing, youth justice, immigration, domestic violence, child protection and local social services departments etc., and referral for volunteer support.
The length of Social Work support offered to children and young people is dependent on outcomes of an assessment. This could be short or long term work.
The Social Worker’s work closely with staff from the multi-disciplinary team in an attempt to provide a high standard of support for patients and their families.
Support Groups currently available include:
Teachers Day is organised each year which usually attracts 80 plus teachers from across the region. The day highlights the role that teachers can play in supporting children with cancer and their siblings in education – particularly promoting school attendance and inclusion. The teachers of all children and their siblings diagnosed that year will be invited to attend.
An End of Treatment Day is also arranged by the Oncology multi-disciplinary team two to three times per year for parents, children and young people. The aim of the day is to deliver information to support families after treatment comes to an end. This will promote children’s return to education, their health (exercising and eating a balanced diet) discussions regarding relapse and long term follow up clinics.
Haematology and Haemophilia
The Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Annual Review Clinic is now up and running and consists of a joint meeting between children (the patient) and their parents and a Haematology Consultant, Lead Haematology Nurse and Social Worker. The clinic allows for both medical and social issues to be considered together.
Parents support group – this is a group of parents who have a child with a bleeding disorder. The aim of the group is to bring parents together to offer each other support and advice and a chance to talk to someone who understands their situation. The group often arrange family activities and days out.
Sibling Group – this has been developed from the oncology and haematology service to incorporate all siblings of children accessing the Regional Specialist Team Service. This group is aimed at siblings aged 6-15 years of age and aims to offer both emotional and practical support to help siblings adapt to the challenges faced when a brother or sister is diagnosed with a long term illness. A focused session is delivered morning and afternoon with an ice break session at the start of the day. The emphasis remains on children and young people having fun and being provided with the opportunity to meet other people experiencing a similar situation to them.
CLIC Sargent Volunteers
This service is funded by CLIC Sargent to offer 1:1 emotional and practical support to families, plus playroom support in hospital settings when the child or young person has a cancer diagnosis. The charity directly employs a part-time co-ordinator to recruit, train, background check and support volunteers and to match them to families referred by the oncology social workers and nurse specialists. Support includes befriending, housework, supporting siblings and emotional support whilst in clinic and hospital.
Team Members and contact details
The main office telephone number is 0113 3922446. This is the number for the team’s Care support worker, Janet Bunn who will forward your call to the relevant worker or take a message. If she is not available this number has an answer phone for messages.
Hilary Suddes, Team Manager
Office 0113 3922492, mobile 07891275196 or email Hilary.Suddes@leeds.gov.uk