Posted 3 weeks ago
Transitioning Our Lives to a Virtual Landscape during COVID-19 Quarantine
COVID-19 quarantine has not only inconvenienced those who have regular exercise routines outside the home, but it has also taken away a sense of human connection.
Fortunately, many organizations quickly adapted to virtual technology to bring back some of the activities and opportunities for human connection.
For cancer patients, the anxiety of receiving a new diagnosis, the risk of exposure to the virus during a compromised immunity, and the financial burden of cancer are all enough to stress even the most positive of patients.
The mind-body connection plays a big role in the cancer journey. Support networks and counseling offered by integrative programs are vital to a patient’s treatment plan.
Support groups provide a sense of unity and a look into what others, who also have a cancer diagnosis, have experienced. Exercise and creative activities allow patients to explore healthy and creative outlets on their journey to wellness.
The transition from in-person to virtual exercise classes, counseling, support groups, and patient education opportunities has been extremely important for providers who believe that these evidence-based supports were just as important as the chemotherapy and radiation therapy the patients were receiving.
COVID-19 quarantines tested organizations’ abilities to adapt to patients’ needs. Communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, and Google Hangout, allow participants to gather in a group safely and see one another while safely maintaining distance in their homes.
Many still find that they crave the human connectedness that in-person activities provide, while others have discovered that virtual offerings provide newfound convenience.
Many individuals participating in virtual activities and support groups find that it is easier to participate from the comfort of their home, especially when they are not feeling their best after chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments. Another convenience that the virtual world offers is privacy for those who do not wish to be seen while exercising.
Lastly, the increased protection for the vulnerable immunocompromised population against the contraction of the virus highlights the benefits of the virtual offerings.
Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers is proud of their Supportive Care Services Department and the organization for adapting to the quick transition to virtual platforms that began in March 2020.
It has been a priority of ours to find a way for our patients to maintain their low-impact exercises such as Tai Chi and Chair Yoga.
The in-person support groups have all been transferred to a virtual platform and still meet regularly for patients seeking out a network of individuals that they can relate to.
Ironwood has also created a virtual library full of educational content to access live and replay at a patient’s convenience.
The virtual library includes content such as healthy sleep habits, nutrition education, and genetic counseling content.
Our goal at Ironwood is to continue to provide content that individuals find supportive and informative.
We all look forward to the day when we can all experience the human touch and connection that in-person activities offer but hope to continue to provide virtual supports for patients desiring a convenient and private way to receive their support.
We want to hear from you! What content would you like to see from our Ironwood Centers? For more information on our virtual offerings, please visit ironwoodcrc.com and click on the calendar icon. We would love to hear new ideas for content that is helpful to you. Send us your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care and stay safe!
About Ciara Endicott
Ciara Endicott is the Support Service Coordinator for Ironwood Integrative Services. Ciara oversees class and support group scheduling and implementation, as well as informational support to patients and their caregivers. Ciara also oversees the volunteer program at Ironwood that helps with various patient resources within our clinics.
She provides basic direction for patients seeking resources within the practice. Ciara has been with Ironwood since 2013, working with oncology patients in her various roles. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Arizona State University, Majoring in Community Advocacy & Social Policy, and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work.
Her passion and desire to work with cancer patients have been inspired by her own experience with cancer and her desire to promote whole-person health and healing. Outside of work, Ciara enjoys doing crafts with her two children, playing Scrabble with her husband, and journaling.
About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers
Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program, and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit www.ironwoodcrc.com.