Premium care is vital to a child’s recovery. It is research in action and without it, children with cancer would not survive. Treating a child with cancer demands a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week commitment of specialized care and Kids Cancer Care’s hospital programs ensure that Alberta children receive that care right here in Alberta.

This year, more than 160 Alberta families will hear that their child has cancer. Worry and sleepless nights follow along with months of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, remissions and relapses. Juggling a hectic hospital and work schedule can be taxing on families that are already emotionally spent. We are committed to the health of the whole family.

Beads of Courage

A tangible expression of their cancer journey, the Beads of Courage program helps young people understand their cancer experience.

Each coloured bead marks a turning point in the child’s trek against cancer, be it needle, X-ray, MRI, echo test, chemo treatment or surgery. Stringing the long necklace of beads gives kids a colorful centerpiece around which they may express themselves and share their experience with others.

 

“The beads of courage help me keep a record of all that I have been through. It allows me to share my journey with others by talking about my beads. My beads make me feel proud of all the hard things I have made it through.”

14 Year Old Patient

Recruitment, Retention and Education Program for Health Professionals

Health care professionals have an incredible bond with their patients and are an essential part of the healing process.

The recruitment, retention and education program for health professionals at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, enables the hospital to develop and retain highly skilled staff, who continually strive for excellence by improving their knowledge, then applying it in the clinical setting. The patients benefit because the quality of care they receive is based on best practice. Staff members who take part in educational conferences come back with a renewed strength of conviction, refreshed with deeper dedication and determination to bring excellence to their work.

“I love nursing. I love going to work. I always have. But, to have the opportunity to be educated further about something you truly are passionate about is a blessing. I feel motivated to learn, so I thank you deeply for this opportunity. I only hope to show my gratitude though paying it forward in giving back through my heart, head and hands.”

Nurse

Look Good, Feel Better

When cancer shatters your innocence and high-dose chemotherapy strips away your strength and vitality and, eventually, your hair, remembering who you are inside is vital.

The Look Good, Feel Better program offers teenage girls a chance to explore and rediscover who they are while restoring their confidence from the inside out. Volunteer cosmeticians lead the youth though an empowering session on how to manage the appearance-related side effects of their cancer treatments with makeup, wigs and funky headwear.


Bereavement Program

It is an unimaginable pain to lose a child. We know that we can’t take the pain away, but we strive to ease it and help families understand they are not alone.

The bereavement program continues to have positive impact on families who have lost a child. In addition to counselling provided, families receive the book ‘When the Bough Breaks,’ followed by a bouquet of flowers on the first anniversary of the child’s passing.

“We always hear back from families following the delivery of the flowers. They consistently tell us how much it means to them that although their child is no longer physically coming to the hospital, their child is not forgotten.”

Social Worker

Family Education

Families affected by childhood cancer need lots of information to help them understand and cope with the diagnosis and their experience. The Family Education program offers teaching, support and camaraderie for parents as their children journey through the experience of cancer.

Education resources such as a Friday morning parent support group (featuring topics such as ‘Relaxation and Anxiety Reduction’ or ‘Cancer 101’ – in which an oncologist comes to the support group to answer general questions from the parents) and the annual Survivor’s Day conference for our patients and families, help families navigate the frightening world of childhood cancer in a supportive and informative community.

If you’d like more information regarding our hospital program, please contact Christine McIver.