UM SRH Cancer Program Launches New Service, “TIPPS for Living Well”

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Patty Plaskon, oncology social worker, UM SRH Cancer Program

UM Shore Regional Cancer Program has launched TIPPS for Living Well, a free consultation for patients undergoing cancer treatment and their families.

According to Patty Plaskon, oncology social worker at the Cancer Center in Easton, TIPPS is an acronym for Treatment, Innovation and Primary Palliative Support. The TIPPS program enables each patient to clarify what quality of life means to him or her, and to develop a personalized plan for practical, economic, legal or personal goals while in treatment.

“Quality of life is an important part of treatment for anyone with advanced cancer,” says Plaskon. “Having a professional listen objectively to your thoughts about the changes in your health, your personal goals or your family’s future can help you navigate these challenges.”

An initial interview helps the patient — together with family or loved ones if desired — to clarify goals. Follow up sessions develop an action plan and identify resources. Educational sessions on special topics and a caregiver support group are also offered.

Through TIPPS, patients receive guidance on a variety of issues, including changes in lifestyle and relationships; employment, disability and finances; non-pharmaceutical approaches to pain or fatigue; decisions about health insurance, life insurance and advance directives; and long range plans and providing for family members. Specialized resources are made available to TIPPS patients, such as an oncology dietitian, nurse navigator, rehabilitation therapists, clergy and financial advisors, and providers of various integrative therapies, including massage, acupuncture, yoga and Reiki.

“We also provide assistance with communication,” says Plaskon. “For example, how to talk to family members and young children about the illness and get the most value from doctor visits, how to advocate for oneself in the workplace and how to delegate or accept help.

For more information about the TIPPS for Living Well services, contact Plaskon, 410-820-6800 or pplaskon@umm.edu.

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