Oncology Social Workers: Practical and Emotional Support on Your Cancer Journey

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March 21, 2022
Oncology Social Workers

Oncology social workers are licensed clinical professionals who all have master’s degrees and   are able to assist patients and families when affected by cancer. They provide emotional support, counseling, and resource information.

March is Social Work Month. Kelly Huey LCSW, Manager of the Social Work department at Arizona Oncology, talks about how the social work team can be of assistance to patients and their families during this difficult time.

“Social workers have many roles here at Arizona Oncology. It is important we evaluate each individual patient as to their personal needs,” Huey says.

Social Work can assist with:

  • Patients struggling with depression from a new diagnosis or their struggles with cancer.
  • Advance Care Planning to help patients complete their living will and medical power of attorney forms. (“It is important for all of us to discuss with our family/significant others, so they are aware of our wishes,” Huey says.)
  • Assistance with Social Security/Disability, insurance changes, AHCCCS/ Medicaid, Long Term Care planning, employment issues
  • Supportive Counseling
  • Substance Abuse
  • Family /caregiver support resources
  • Community Resources

“At Arizona Oncology, we meet our patients where they are. When they are initially diagnosed, they may not be wanting to speak with someone or talk about issues. But maybe three months down the road or two weeks down the road, they may realize that they need that help, and we are there for them.” Huey says.

She adds, “Some of our patients don’t have family or anybody. They are by themselves, so we are their family. It’s nice to see them get well. It’s nice to see them progress through their treatment— the good times and the bad times. We’re there for them. That’s what families do. It is an honor to be involved with our patients on their journey.”

If you could benefit from the services of the social work department at Arizona Oncology, you don’t need to wait for a referral from your doctor, Huey urges. “Please reach out to the social work department at Aosocialwork@usoncology.com . We have an open referral system and patients can reach out to us directly with their concerns.”