Did you know CHEO has dedicated services for oncology patients including a team focused on their emotional and mental health? This team is called the Hematology/Oncology Psychosocial Team. A very important member of this group is Dr. Héloïse Sirois-Leclerc, a clinical psychologist providing assessments, consultations and counselling for patients who need specialized intervention and support. This addition to CHEO’s oncology treatment program was born out of an identified need for mental health support and made possible through the generosity of our donor community. Children and youth who are currently in treatment are encouraged to talk about their fears and hopes for the future, while cancer survivors learn to cope with lingering effects from their treatment.
This program would not exist without donor support and it plays such an important role in helping children and youth face the harsh realities of dealing with cancer. Through CHEO’s Oncology Department, approximately 300 families per year have access to psychosocial services. In 2018 nearly 900 counselling hours were provided to 15 to 18 oncology patients per week. Dr. Sirois-Leclerc is involved with 95 to 100 patients at any given time, for a quick consultation in some cases and for more in-depth work with others. “I wouldn’t be able to see 100 patients if I wasn’t working as part of a team and with the support of the community.”
In this treatment model the clinical psychologist is constantly collaborating with other specialists, social workers, physicians and case workers. Thanks to dedicated services and donations, the whole family is treated at CHEO with the hope that they will take the coping strategies they’ve been given into their life outside of the walls of the hospital.