cancer patient in wig fitting room

How Social Workers Support Cancer Patients

What do you do after receiving a cancer diagnosis? Who do you turn to? Overlake’s cancer social workers are here to help. Our unique model of care takes a proactive approach, involving social workers from day one of a cancer diagnosis.

We follow patients through the continuum of their care.

“We ensure support is offered at every critical touch point,” says cancer social worker Abby McNeil, MSW, LSWAIC, CDP.

Partnering closely with the entire cancer team, the social workers make sure there are no gaps or delays in patient care. This includes medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical assistants, nurses, nutritionists, financial counselors and front desk staff.

They also anticipate, address and overcome barriers to care – which may include emotional distress, psychosocial stressors, challenges paying for treatment and transportation to appointments. Connecting patients with support groups and community resources is core to the social workers’ role.

In addition to accessing resources, they can simply be someone to talk to, lending an ear and offering support and encouragement. “We are trained in the therapeutic art of listening,” says Amy Kyi, MSW, LSWAIC. “We are honored to sit with patients during times of stress as well as celebration.”

"Amy called me the day I was diagnosed. It was the hardest conversation I’ve had in my entire life. She talked me through it, and over time, I built a relationship with her that is so special to me," says former patient Neda Shook.

To learn more about the new Cancer Center and oncology support services, visit overlakehospital.org/cancer.