Supportive Care

Supportive Care

Supportive Care services are available at the Regional Cancer Centre to provide care and support for patients and their families during and after cancer treatment. These services are meant to help you and your family through your cancer journey.

Services include:

Psychosocial Oncology Specialists

  • Social Workers and Psychologist
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Registered Physiotherapist
  • Other Psychosocial Specialists

Support Services

  • Indigenous Patient Navigator
  • Drug Access Navigator

Information on each of these supportive care services is listed below.

Psychosocial Oncology Specialists

“Psychosocial Oncology is a specialty in cancer care concerned with understanding and treating the social, psychological, emotional, spiritual, quality-of-life, and functional aspects of cancer, from prevention through bereavement. It is a whole-person approach to cancer care that addresses a range of very human needs that can improve quality of life for people affected by cancer.” (CAPO, 2010.)

Social Work and Psychology

Social Workers and Psychologists provide free and confidential counselling services for people living with cancer and their families.

Social Workers and Psychologists can help you and your family:

  • cope with stress and worry when there is illness in the family
  • learn cognitive-behavioral self-management and self-care skills
  • access cancer support groups locally or online such as
  • cope with loss, grief and bereavement
  • access resources and services that may be right for you. Review the resources and services listed below.
    • Helpful Resources and Services

      Financial resources and income replacement programs if you are off work:

      • Speak with the social worker for information and to connect with programs that fit your needs.
      • Link to for information about financial and disability programs Through this website you can arrange an online or telephone appointment to speak with a Wellspring Money Matters Case Manager.

      Travel and lodging resources that support patients travelling to medical appointments:

      • Speak with the social worker who has information about available resources.
      • The Northern Health Travel Grant can help to pay for some travel-related expenses for patients who need to travel 100kms or more to receive specific medical services.

      Northern Health Travel Grant printable form

      For information or to make an appointment with the Social Worker or Psychologist, please phone (807) 684-7310 or toll-free 1-877-696-7223ext 7310.

      Registered Dietitian

      Good nutrition is important to give you energy, keep you strong, and support your immune system during and after treatment. Sometimes, nutrition-related problems can occur due to the cancer itself or the effects of treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. This makes it difficult to maintain good nutrition.

      The Registered Dietitian has unique skills and training to help you manage nutrition-related problems, and answer questions about your diet and nutritional needs. Registered Dietitians, who are regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario, work closely with doctors, nurses and other members of your health care team.

      The Registered Dietitian provides evidence-based nutritional care for people who:

      • have difficulty eating due to decrease in appetite, nausea, vomiting, difficult or painful swallowing, taste changes, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, or other symptoms
      • are losing or gaining weight unintentionally
      • need to change their diet to manage side effects of treatment
      • require tube feeding
      • have questions about diet and nutrition recommendations for specific types of cancer or cancer treatments
      • have questions about vitamin and mineral supplements
      • want to improve their overall health through healthy food choices

      For information or to make an appointment with the Registered Dietitian, please phone (807) 684-7310 or toll-free 1-877-696-7223ext 7310.

      For more information on nutrition and cancer, please click on the links below.

      • Eating Guidelines After a Cancer Diagnosis
      • Recommandations en matière d’alimentation après un diagnostic de cancer
      • 7.3b Eating Guidelines for Cancer Survivors
      • Registered Physiotherapist

        Lymphedema is swelling that is caused by a large amount of lymph fluid in the tissues. A registered physiotherapist trained in lymphedema treatment helps people living with cancer who develop or are at risk of developing lymphedema.

        The registered physiotherapist meets with patients to:

        • complete a lymphedema assessment
        • develop a customized treatment plan
        • teach lymphedema prevention and self-management skills
        • authorize Ministry of Health funding for compression modification devices, covering a portion of these costs.

        Appointments are scheduled in-person for in-patients of our Hospital and for out-patients who live locally. If you live in the region, appointments can be arranged using teleconferencing technology.

        Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about being at risk of developing lymphedema or if you feel you may have lymphedema. Ask about being referred to the registered physiotherapist.

        Doctors fax referral forms to (807) 684-5835.

        For more information, please phone (807) 684-6270.

        Other Psychosocial Specialists

        Many patients require additional specialized services, such as:

        • occupational therapy
        • psychiatry
        • speech language pathology
        • spiritual care

        Please speak with your health care team about an appropriate referral.

        Support Services

        Indigenous Patient Navigator

        The Indigenous Patient Navigator is available for guidance and support when you and your family are unfamiliar with medical systems, do not speak English, and/or have travelled a long distance for treatment.

        Services include:

        • translation and interpretive services in Cree, Oji-Cree and Ojibwe
        • support before, during, and after medical appointments
        • linking patients and families to helpful community resources
        • providing information and education in a culturally sensitive way
        • liaising or advocating for you and your family with your health care team

        To contact the Indigenous Patient Navigator, please phone (807) 684-4324 or toll-free 1-877-696-7223 ext 4324.

        Click for printable information sheet English
        Click for printable information sheet Syllabics

        Drug Access Navigator

        Prescription drug access is an important part of your cancer treatment. The Drug Access Navigator will help you to access the most appropriate prescription drug coverage, whether through government programs, your insurance company or through a compassionate program.

        The Drug Access Navigator can help:

        • if you are not sure your medication is covered
        • if you do not have insurance
        • if you cannot afford your medications
        • if you have questions about prescription drug coverage

        For help to obtain drug coverage, please phone (807) 684-7269 or toll-free 1-877-696-7223 ext 7269 to speak with the Drug Access Navigator.