Resources for Families

To help children and their families cope while living with pediatric cancer, we offer a range of special services and programs. We strive to help families resume some normalcy and predictability in their lives. 

Hematology and Oncology patients also have access to a wide range of resources offered to all patients at Children's:

Oncology Supportive Care

Our supportive care initiatives are focused on improving comfort and quality of life for patients and their families. 

These efforts include:

  • Gathering feedback from your child in support of research on the side effects of treatment
  • Using non-traditional treatment methods, such as aromatherapy and acupuncture
  • Providing personalized education and support to ensure your family has a positive experience with our program

Learn more about our Oncology Supportive Care program.

Pediatric Advanced NeeDs Assessment and Care Team (PANDA)

PANDA tends to children under the care of any inpatient service at Children’s National. Our goal is simple: to prevent, reduce and soothe symptoms for children in the advanced stages of an illness (palliative care). We offer pain management, support and advocacy services to enhance your child’s quality of life. 

Learn more about the Pediatric Advanced NeeDs Assessment and Care Team (PANDA). You can also contact PANDA directly by calling 202-476-4256.

Tracy’s Kids Art Therapy Program

Tracy’s Kids is an art therapy program just for oncology patients. We help kids “just be kids,” by offering art as a way for patients and families to express and distract themselves. Services are available to children of all ages and their families in the Art Room of our outpatient clinic and at your child's bedside.

Pediatric Oncology Online Community

Children’s National Pediatric Oncology Online is a private community intended for patients, families and friends to share, connect and support each other.

Psychology

Our psychology team is available if you and your child would like help coping with the challenges of living with a chronic illness. The dedicated psychology team for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is led by two licensed clinical psychologists who have experience working with children and adolescents dealing with medical issues. Services may involve meeting with a psychologist during regular clinic visits or during inpatient hospital stays. The team also offers weekly outpatient therapy and brief cognitive testing. Common problems addressed in treatment include:

  • Anxiety or fears about needles or other medical procedures
  • Depressive symptoms or sadness
  • Difficulty coping with pain
  • Problems getting along with friends or talking about illness
  • Tantrums and other behavioral problems
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble swallowing pills or refusal to take medicine

Social Workers

Each of our cancer programs has its own dedicated social worker. These social workers offer a breadth of knowledge about pediatric cancer conditions and the treatments we offer. 

They join you and your family in treatment discussions to help you understand what’s happening with your child and communicate your preferences to the clinical team. Our social workers also coordinate any additional support resources you may need. 

Learn more about social work.

Education Support

Together with parents, teachers and school administrators, our Education Specialist helps keep our patients from falling behind in their schoolwork. If your child is going to be out of school for an extended period of time, your medical provider or social worker may provide a referral to the Education Specialist, who will work with your child’s school to develop a plan for ongoing educational support. Volunteer teachers also provide assistance and instruction in our new classroom space and at the bedside.

Ronald McDonald Family Room®

Only steps from your child’s bedside, we offer you and your family a place of quiet respite. Here, you can have a snack or a cup of coffee, check email, read or just relax. The Ronald McDonald Family Room® just underwent a major renovation to include a washer and dryer, full-sized kitchen, computers with Wi-Fi and more. 

Learn more about the Ronald McDonald Family Room®. You can contact the Ronald McDonald Family Room® Coordinator by calling 202-476-4205.

Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) Patient Navigator and Activity Room

Because we are devoted to caring for children, we recognize that children of different ages have different needs and enjoy different activities. This is why our team includes a dedicated AYA Patient Navigator, who provides services, resources and activities to promote a better quality of life for adolescents and young adult patients.

The Navigator creates a safe space for AYA patients in the dedicated, inpatient Teen Room, coordinates on- and offsite activities, and connects patients with one another as well as with adolescent and young adult survivors.

Music Therapy Program

At the Children's National Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, we’ve designed a Music Therapy program as a creative outlet to release stress and promote healing.