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Patient & Family Support Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

We believe that comprehensive care for children also includes support for their families. While your child is a patient at Children’s National, our staff does everything possible to see that your family’s emotional, spiritual, and even logistical needs are taken care of as well.

Through the Patient and Family Support Program, we offer patients and families:

Emotional Support

  • Someone to listen
  • Someone to help you talk to your child or to your other children
Care Support
  • Help with medical tests
  • Guidance on medications
  • Review of routine care
  • Advice on side effects
Hospital Support
  • Information on hospital services and procedures
  • Patient and sibling activities

Support Programs and Services

Thanks to the generosity of donors, all program services are free of charge.

The Patient and Family Support Program provides comprehensive psychosocial and mental health services for patients, their parents and siblings. Our program team includes social workers, child development specialists, psychologists, and chaplains.

Services to help children and families cope with illness include individual and family counseling, and assistance with the back-to-school transition. Because we are devoted exclusively to caring for kids, we also recognize the value of therapeutic programs that allow children to express themselves in other ways, such as art therapy.

Additional programs for patients and families:

  • Bravery Endurance Achievement Determination and Strength Program: Called BEADS for short, patients receive alphabet beads to create a necklace that spells their name each time they have a procedure, receive treatment, or experience a milestone, such as a birthday.
  • Friends of Hem-Onc: A parent-led group, Hem-Onc offers networking opportunities for parents, advice about policies and practices, and support for the work of the Patient and Family Support Program.
  • Potomac Power: An innovative program for adolescents with cancer, Potomac Power promotes social support and peer relationships through fun group activities around the Washington, DC, area.
  • Project Strive: Provides activities and mentoring for adolescents with sickle cell disease.
  • The For a Day Foundation and Heroes Curing Childhood Cancer: These programs work to enhance the self-esteem of children and adolescents with cancer. The For a Day Foundation sponsors activities several times a year for Children’s patients.
  • Sickle Cell Parent Support Group, Pain Management Program and Camp Super Campers Always: Programs for families of children with sickle cell, including Camp Super Campers Always, a summer camp just for kids with sickle cell.
  • Teen Room: An activity room at the hospital exclusively for Children’s inpatient teens.
  • Tracy’s Kids Art Therapy Program: A pediatric art therapy program designed to help young patients tell their stories, improve self-confidence, and express their emotions through art.

These programs work to enhance the self-esteem of children and adolescents with cancer. The For a Day Foundation sponsors activities several times a year for Children’s patients. 

Kensley's Story

Kensley smiling

Just before Christmas, Nkenge and Tanya took their 2-year-old daughter Kensley to the Emergency Department because she was complaining of stomach pain and they could feel a bulge in her abdomen. Kensley was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma and continues to received treatment from Amy Hont, M.D., and the multidisciplinary team of surgeons, gynecologists and radiation oncologists at Children's National.

Read More of Kensley's Story