CLIMB® Study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology

The first formal research into the effectiveness of the CLIMB® Program was published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology in July 2016.  The Children’s Treehouse Foundation commissioned the study through the Omni Institute in 2013 and we are very pleased to have the findings published in this prestigious journal.  Special thanks to Pallavi Visvanathan, Ph.D. and her team for their commitment to getting the study published.  Here is the link to the study:

Find the CLIMB® Study in this edition.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07347332.2016.1191577

The study provides hard data that CLIMB® is doing for families and children what we have been saying it does; improving communication between the parent and the child and reducing children’s acting out behavior resulting from their parent’s cancer diagnosis. Please use the study to help justify the use of the program in your location and to satisfy those administrators looking for “research-based”, data-driven programs.

Hope Cancer Resources in Springdale, Arkansas telling the CLIMB® story

Christy Scarrow, VP of Patient Services and CLIMB® Coordinator at Hope Cancer Resources in Springdale, Arkansas shared a story done by their local TV station, KWNA, on the CLIMB® Program.  This video is an important reminder that Dad’s get cancer, too, and CLIMB® helps the whole family face the new and frightening  realities of a cancer diagnosis.  Check out this video the Snyder family.

http://www.nwahomepage.com/news/group-offers-support-for-kids-dealing-with-family-cancer

Kendra Scott Gives Back Event

kendra-scott-invite-image

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR DEC 7th AND MAKE A NIGHT OF IT!

SHOP KENDRA SCOTT AND GIVE BACK TO THE CHILDREN’S TREEHOUSE FOUNDATION!

Kick off the holiday shopping season by giving back! Come shop the sparkle at Kendra Scott in Cherry Creek from 6-8pm on December 7th and 20% of the proceeds will be donated to The Children’s Treehouse Foundation. Grab your girlfriends and come enjoy a night of spirits, sweets and jewels all while helping raise awareness and money for a great cause.

NOT ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE STORE?

No problem! You can still shop online at http://kendrascott.com/ and support us by placing a phone order on Dec. 7th directly to the Denver store at 720-381-2999.

MAKE A NIGHT OF IT!  All this shopping may make you hungry or maybe you would rather just eat than shop. If so, plan on stopping into California Pizza Kitchen in Cherry Creek on Dec. 7th with and they will donate 20% of your bill to the Children’s Treehouse Foundation!  Click on this link to get the coupon or pick up a coupon at the Kendra Scott store on Dec 7th.

This is a free event and no tickets are necessary, but please RSVP here  Register for Kendra Scott Event if you think you can attend, space is limited! We can’t wait to see you on December 7th!

Our Executive Director publishes an article in the AOSW Navigator magazine

When Comprehensive Cancer Care Includes the Patient’s Children
By Denis M. Murray
In February 2016, a public health worker in Colorado stood in front of a statewide audience that was reviewing the Colorado Cancer Plan and announced that, in addition to working on the plan, she had also been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. In less than one year she had endured six months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, hair loss and the inability to work. Then she said the most powerful thing I heard during the conference: “The hardest part of my cancer journey so far has been telling my 9- and 11-year old daughters that I have cancer.”  Not chemo, not radiation, not exhaustion—telling her children.

Cancer affects the whole family. When doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals establish a treatment plan, the medical side is covered from head to toe, so to speak. But how is it that so few cancer treatment plans consider what cancer patients identify as the most difficult part of their journey—talking with their children and family about their cancer?

The Children’s Treehouse Foundation has created a psychosocial intervention, group-support program for children whose parents have cancer. The support program, for kids ages 6-11, is called CLIMB®—Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery. It helps to normalize feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear and anger for the kids and stimulates improved communication between the children and their parents.

The Children’s Treehouse Foundation trains oncology social workers, child life specialists, chaplains and/or nurses at cancer centers around the globe to deliver the program. Yet while The Children’s Treehouse Foundation has spent the last 15 years training oncology professionals in cancer centers worldwide to run the CLIMB® program, to date only 77 of the over 1,400 cancer centers in the U.S. and only 18 cancer centers internationally offer the program. Patient-centered care and comprehensive cancer treatments plans are the ways we talk about cancer treatment. But a comprehensive treatment plan is not truly comprehensive until it includes the children and families of cancer patients.

Lawrence D. Piro, MD, of the Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Santa Monica, California, stated, “The illness of a parent is among the most threatening events in the universe of a child. Parents are the protectors and source of safety for children. They are the primary source of unconditional love and acceptance, which play a pivotal role in a child’s development of self-esteem and confidence. As a result, when a parent becomes ill, it affects a child at his or her most vulnerable place. The biggest challenge in helping a child through such an experience is getting him or her to talk about it.”

(Photo: Feeling Mask activity in the CLIMB®program)

The CLIMB® program fills this gap exceptionally well. The cancer centers that use the CLIMB® program cannot say enough good things about how it fits into comprehensive treatment. Marisa Nowitz at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, states: “The CLIMB® program has been an invaluable tool for the oncology patients, children, and staff at MD Anderson throughout the past nine years. CLIMB® not only benefits the professionals who receive training by providing practical tools to implement the program, it also provides an immeasurable experience and crucial support to the families who participate.”

Lindsay Rehm, RN, BSN, OCN, at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shares: “…we are completely focused on patient-empowered care, which means that we put the patient at the center of everything we do. I’m a huge supporter of CLIMB®, as it allows me as a nurse to empower not only the patient, but the entire family. Patients frequently ask me, ‘How do I explain my cancer to my kids?’ CLIMB® provides me with an answer to that pivotal question and allows me to offer support to our patients and their families during their journey.”

And leave it to a social worker, Blair Edgar, MSW, LCSW, at Sacred Heart Cancer Center in Pensacola, Florida, to capture it this way: “We absolutely love the CLIMB® program…This is the most rewarding program I have ever done in my career!”

Lindsey Gutierrez, R.T.(R)(CT), is a computed tomography technologist at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City, Iowa, and has been trained to run CLIMB®. Gutierrez writes, “Within the Children’s Treehouse programs, these groups also are used to educate the children about the treatment mom or dad is receiving. Seeing how the treatment machines work, meeting the health care workers who treat their parents, and asking questions help make cancer less scary for children. … Programs such as those created at the Children’s Treehouse can ease the burden of cancer on families and provide them with tools to cope with the emotions their children will experience.”

The Children’s Treehouse Foundation conducts two trainings each year for professionals who want to learn how to conduct the CLIMB® program at their location. You can have a truly comprehensive approach to treatment for your cancer patients by taking the training and starting the CLIMB® program in your cancer center. Information and registration can be found on the Children’s Treehouse Foundation website, or by calling (303) 322-1202.

Author:
Denis M. Murray
Executive Director
The Children’s Treehouse Foundation
Lakewood, Colorado
achildstreehouse@aol.com

Easing the Burden – Testimony from the Field

This article was written and published by one of our CLIMB® providers in Sioux City, IA.  Hear from Lindsey why the tools from the CLIMB® Program are needed in every cancer center in the U.S.

My Perspective


RADIATION THERAPIST, Fall 2015, Volume 24, Number 2

Lindsey Gutierrez, R.T.(R)(CT)

When Mom or Dad Have Cancer: Helping Kids Cope


Imagine yourself as a 34-year-old woman with 2 young children. Weeks after your daughter’s sixth birthday, you are diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Your first thoughts are of your children. “How do I tell them? What do I tell them? How is this going to affect their lives?” While a cancer diagnosis can be devastating to an adult, it can be equally or even more so for a child whose parent or family member is newly diagnosed with the disease. Emotional and physical support after a diagnosis is critical for everyone affected. The patient and his or her spouse can access facility-provided counselors and information regarding cancer, treatment, and coping strategies. However, few resources are designed specifically to support the needs of the patient’s children, who during this time, experience intense but normal feelings of fear and stress that can trigger confusion, anxiety, and depression.(1)

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States,(2) and more than 367 000 parents with children younger than 18 are estimated to be diagnosed with invasive cancer each year.(3) Research also shows that nearly 562 000 children live with a parent in the early stages of cancer.(4) Children and parents need resources to enhance their ability to cope with the strong and sometimes overwhelming emotions that accompany the illness. In many ways, it makes sense that health care facilities, specifically medical imaging facilities and cancer centers, be the ones to provide these services to the patients and families in their communities.

The Children’s Treehouse, founded in January 2001 in Denver, Colorado, is the nation’s only organization providing hospital-based, cancer-focused, psychosocial intervention training and programming dedicated to improving the emotional health of children whose parents have cancer.(5) The Children’s Treehouse program, called Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery (CLIMB®), teaches children to normalize their feelings and offers them the skills to communicate effectively with their parents.(5) This specialized, continued support helps families better manage the effects of stress on every member of the family.(6) Health care centers around the world can receive this training to develop the skills to start support groups for children in their communities, and any professional who wants to help can receive the training. According to the National Cancer Institute, joining a support group is a great outlet for children going through troubling times.(7) Meeting other children having the same issues and hearing that a peer is experiencing the same fears and feelings can help them recover their feelings of normalcy. Within the Children’s Treehouse programs, these groups also are used to educate the children about the treatment mom or dad is receiving. Seeing how the treatment machines work, meeting the health care workers who treat their parent, and asking questions help make cancer less scary for children. Children also often are interested in seeing the medical images of their parent or riding on the treatment table.

Cancer is widespread around the world and will not go away anytime soon. Programs such as those created at the Children’s Treehouse can ease the burden of cancer on families and provide them with tools to cope with the emotions their children will experience. It is hoped that the groups will enable children to return to a more normal life sooner and avoid anxiety or abnormal emotion toward illness. In addition, successful support groups could help children become motivated citizens who will lead positive and influential lives, no matter the outcome of the present cancer diagnosis which they are facing. They even could later return to the program and start their own support group to help children the way they were helped.

pg 218-219 My Perspective RADIATION THERAPIST, Fall 2015, Volume 24, Number 2 Gutierrez


Lindsey Gutierrez, R.T.(R)(CT), is a computed tomography technologist for the June E Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

References

1. For family and friends. National Cancer Institute Web site. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/family-friends. Published December 2, 2014. Accessed August 19, 2015.
2. Statistics for different kinds of cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer /dcpc/data/types.htm. Updated June 25, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2015.
3. The need. Children’s Treehouse Foundation Web site. http:// www.childrenstreehousefdn.org/theneed.html. Accessed August 19, 2015.
4. National Health Interview Survey. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm. Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2015.
5. Children’s Treehouse Foundation Web site. http://www.child renstreehousefdn.org/index.html. Accessed August 26, 2014.
6. Our role, and benefits. Children’s Treehouse Foundation Web site. http://www.childrenstreehousefdn.org/ourroll.html. Accessed August 19, 2015.
7. Teens who have a family member with cancer. National Cancer Institute Web site. http://www.cancer.gov/about -cancer/coping/family-friends/teens. Posted December 2, 2014. Accessed August 19, 2015.

©2015, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of the ASRT for educational purposes.