When coming in for treatment at Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, children and their families are invited to take part in a host of ongoing programs, classes, and therapies designed to relieve stress.
Supportive Care Services
Cancer treatments are just one aspect of your child’s care plan. We also want to make sure your child is eating well and getting the necessary physical assistance and support he or she needs.
During cancer treatment, many children and adolescents face challenges such as loss of appetite, taste changes, nausea, additional caloric needs, mouth or throat pain, stomach pain, and immune system challenges that limit certain food choices.
Our nutrition experts are here to help families handle these challenges. During a clinic visit, patients and families can meet individually with a registered dietitian who can answer specific questions regarding a patient’s particular needs and personal care plan. You also may have questions about nutritional supplements.
Nutritionists can discuss your child’s unique dietary concerns, provide food suggestions for times when white blood cell counts are low, research your questions about nutritional supplements, and recommend special cookbooks from our library that can provide recipe ideas.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Disease and treatment can take a physical toll on a child’s body, affecting his or her ability to participate in recreational and school activities. Our physical and occupational therapists, called PTs and OTs, collaborate with physicians to create therapies that address these issues in a way that coordinates appropriately with your child’s medical treatment. We also educate patients and their families on fun ways to include regular physical activity into everyday life, and provide individualized home-exercise programs.
Our PTs help your child regain strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility while working on age-appropriate gross motor skills such as walking or running. We also recommend equipment and supportive postural devices such as bracing and orthotics that can help your child remain active.
Our OTs help restore your child’s ability to perform everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and getting dressed. OTs can help your child improve his or her fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt. We also address visual, cognitive, and sensory deficits. An OT can give you suggestions on how to modify the home and school environment to make it comfortable and manageable for your child.
We may also recommend other services, such speech-language pathology, seating and mobility, assistive technology, and barrier-free design clinics, if needed. Our patients often receive therapy at a variety of locations, such as NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital and NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation. We can help ease the transition to other outpatient facilities and school-based therapy programs, serving as a bridge between the sites.
Integrative Health Services
Just as important to your physical wellbeing is your mental and spiritual wellness. We host programs for you, your child, and your family that help relieve stress and manage emotions.
Horticulture (Plant) Therapy
We are pleased to collaborate with The Glass Garden Horticulture Therapy Program to offer bimonthly horticulture sessions at Rusk Rehabilitation.
Through horticulture, patients and families build awareness of nature, science, nutrition, and environmental concepts. Activities include potting plants, holiday projects, craft projects, flower arranging, and kitchen gardening. Patients, siblings, and caregivers are invited to complete projects during the session and then take them home.
Patients and their family members are invited to enjoy a weekly, free massage session by a registered massage therapist.
Massage reduces muscular tension, stimulates circulation, and helps children and adults relax and feel calmer. Our massage therapists use different forms of touch and pressure, including gliding strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, and vibration.
Massage cannot prevent the growth of cancer cells or the development of a blood disorder. However, it may help some people manage the side effects and stress that come with these illnesses. Benefits of massage include a sense of relaxation and calmness; reduced joint pain, muscle pain, or stiffness; increased mobility; and a better sense of wellbeing.
Massage is safe and helpful for most people, but people with certain medical problems—such as blood clots, broken bones, skin infections, burns, and thin bones—should not have massage. Check with your doctor first to be sure that massage is right for you.
Reiki is a complementary therapy that works to improve a person’s energy flow and bring back internal harmony and health. Reiki practitioners use their hands on or close to a patient’s body to send them healing energy.
Reiki practitioners believe that having low life-force energy or an energy imbalance increases the chance of a person getting sick or feeling stress. Sessions are aimed at bringing a person’s energy into balance. The benefits of Reiki can include reduced stress and pain, increased energy, a stronger immune system, clearer thoughts, reduced side effects, improved recovery from illness or surgery, and increased creativity and relaxation.
Our Reiki practitioner is on-site during our clinic hours as one of our many complimentary services for our patients and families.
Yoga combines breathing, meditation, and nonaerobic exercise to help people improve their physical and emotional health.
Practicing yoga can help adults and children reduce stress; lower blood pressure; reduce muscular tightness; improve balance; increase muscle strength, energy, and flexibility; and improve concentration, memory, self-esteem, and body awareness.
Our yoga instructor is on-site during our clinic hours as one of our many complimentary services for our patients and families.