Social workers are available to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center patients in active treatment and their families. We are here to help both new patients and caregivers with pre-arrival consultations and established patients who need assistance.
If you are a new patient with a scheduled appointment and would like social work support prior to your appointment, a social worker can offer you an overview of the services and resources available to you and your family at Fred Hutch. During this time, we will discuss social and emotional issues pertaining to illness and treatment, and make suggestions on finding housing, doing fundraising, and tapping into available resources. If your child is getting care at Seattle Children’s, there are social workers available for children and teens.
Education and support groups
Social workers help educate patients and families about the psychosocial issues that surround medical care. As members of your health care team, social workers participate in patient care planning, family conferences, and patient and family education programs. Social workers co-facilitate various support groups for patients and families.
Advocacy and referral coordination
Social workers help patients and families access services within Fred Hutch, as well as within the community. We act as advocates and facilitators for patients, and work with medical teams as needed. Social workers assist patients and families with communication, including developing problem-solving strategies that will help patients and families navigate the medical system more effectively.
Whether you are a patient or a family member, you can ask social workers for support in coping with grief and loss, role changes, family dynamics, the challenges of living with a serious, chronic illness, and related emotional issues. Crisis intervention is available for patients and families experiencing acute distress related to changes in their medical condition, death and dying, or other stressful life events. Social workers also are available for follow-up grief counseling for families who have lost a loved one, and for end-of-life and funeral planning.
Social workers for children and teens
Social workers at Seattle Children’s, an Fred Hutch partner organization, are trained to help families adjust to a cancer diagnosis and cope with their new situation and the demands of treatment in the best possible way. A social worker meets with each patient and family soon after the diagnosis. Our goal is to provide support and to share information about the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that children and parents often experience at this time. The social worker tries to identify the unique needs of each family and offer help or resources.
Social worker services can include:
- Short-term individual and/or family support and counseling
- Education about feelings that go with cancer and its treatment
- Information about community and hospital resources (such as housing, clothing, and vouchers)
- Advocacy, which means being on your side for whatever your child and family need