The Support Care Center at Clinique de Genolier offers a 360º approach to cancer
A strong word called “cancer” needs a stronger word called “support”
It is an unresolved issue in medicine. Treatment needs constant improvement. We talked to Ms. Müller-Hafner from Clinique de Genolier
1 Sep 2021

Can you describe the approach to cancer patient care at the Support Care Center?

All services offered in this holistic approach focus on symptom management (pain, nausea, etc.), adapted physical activity, nutrition, psychological support, coaching (work, family, social, emotional), relaxation, wellness and art, allowing patients (and their relatives, if they wish) to take an active role in their care pathway, and thus increase their confidence. Activities include: Nordic walking, yoga, dietary workshops, mindful eating, psychological support, sophrology, hypnosis, various coaching options, appointment with a social worker, massage therapy/reflexology/energy therapy, image consulting, art therapy and coffee meetings.

These outpatient services are accessible to all cancer patients (dietary, physiotherapy and psycho-oncology care is covered by the Federal Health Insurance Act; some alternative therapies are recognized by supplementary insurance).

What sets the Center apart from similar offers at other hospitals/clinics?

Various hospitals and clinics now offer supportive care. We are fortunate to be able to do this on a very personal scale and in a welcoming and pleasant environment. Information is exchanged effectively within the experienced and well-established medical and paramedical team, which has a positive impact on the multidisciplinary care and support provided to all our cancer patients.

With the exception of those held outdoors or at the lake, all activities take place directly inside the center. Whether a group workshop or an individual session, therapists are available on site, allowing patients to combine a check-up with an art therapy class, a yoga session or a meeting with a social worker or nurse without a change of location. Thanks to the Genolier Foundation, we are also in a position to help people who would be unable to attend our workshops for financial reasons.

Would you say that psychological support for cancer patients has changed in recent years?

Definitely. Even just hearing the word “cancer” can be stressful for the patient, who will have to learn how to manage this stress in order to engage with the treatment process as calmly as possible. Although the significant medical progress made in recent years has enabled patients to live longer, some of these “long survivors” face periods of anxiety and depression and need specific psychological support, perhaps even several years later. Our staff are trained to recognize the signs of distress. Talking about fears of relapse, loss of work, fatigue or depression is no longer taboo, and psychological care with a focus on the impact of cancer on a patient’s life is now covered by the Federal Health Insurance Act.

Do you see the holistic approach of supportive care as a significant benefit?

Yes. I believe that cancer care has two complementary threads: the therapeutic approach focuses on the specific, targeted and tailored treatment of cancer, taking the latest medical advances and research into account (through surgery, radiation therapy, medical oncology, etc.). Supportive care, developed in close collaboration with the medical team, is all about helping the patient deal with the physical, psychological, social and emotional impact of their disease.

Which soft skills are required to join the team at the Centre? Listening, empathy, passion, understanding and a real and sincere interest in accompanying and supporting our patients and their loved ones along this winding road of oncology care. Together – to ensure that our patients get better and stay well.

* Julián Ginzo is the Editorial Coordinator of UN Today.
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