Looking to expand the reach of its care beyond the hospital's walls and hours of operation, Roswell Park Cancer Institute has launched a new online community for people affected by cancer.
Created as part of a national initiative coordinated by OMNI Health Media, this comprehensive online resource, affiliated with the national CancerConnect.com network, covers everything from clinical trials and wellness tips to jokes and lighthearted videos created by and for people with cancer.
RPCI's new site, available at www.cancerconnect.com/roswellpark, is the first affiliate on the CancerConnect platform. This online community is intended both as an informational resource for patients, family members and caregivers and as a 24/7 extension of the support networks that are such a crucial resource for those whose lives are impacted by cancer.
"We see RPCI's CancerConnect community as being like a comfortable coffee shop where you can meet people with similar interests and even make great friends along the way," says Dana Jenkins, MS, assistant vice president of organizational performance improvement at RPCI and a moderator for the new online community. "It's a place that patients, their family members and their friends can come together to learn from and support one another."
Site users can access more than 30 disease-specific national communities or join groups focused on care giving, health and wellness, clinical trials, insurance, nutrition and survivorship. The site features regular news updates, a social-networking component and feature stories on survivorship and living well. And through the national CancerConnect site, community members can chat with some of their favorite authors and hear from celebrity survivors like Donna Karan, Sheryl Crow, Hoda Kotb and Katie Couric.
It's important to have these resources available whenever you need them, says Faith Addiss, RN, patient education facilitator and another moderator for the site."Say it's late at night or a Sunday afternoon and you have a question that doesn't warrant a call to your doctor, or maybe you are just feeling confused or alone," Addiss says. "Now you can just go online and connect with folks who truly understand how you are feeling. Community members can post a question about something they're experiencing or share tips on getting through the day. They share firsthand perspective on how they handled difficult situations -- everything from work and family issues to financial challenges."