ISSN 1866-8836
Клеточная терапия и трансплантация

R-05. Establishment of pioneering spiritual rehabilitation center helping pediatric cancer survivors and their families

Anush Sargsyan, Saten Hovhannisyan, Alisa Qamalyan, Samvel Danielyan, Gevorg Tamamyan

R. Yeolyan Hematology Center, Yerevan, Armenia


Contact: Dr. Anush Sargsyan, e-mail: anugay1@mail.ru

doi 10.18620/ctt-1866-8836-2023-12-3-1-176

Summary

80-100 primary cases of childhood cancer are registered in the Republic of Armenia annually. The survival rate for pediatric cancer in Armenia is estimated to be approximately 75%. Pediatric cancer management entails prolonged and difficult stages encompassing not only the active phases of treatment but also the post-treatment period. As a result, rehabilitative interventions assume a crucial role in proactively preventing potential complications that may emerge after treatment, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for both pediatric cancer survivors and their families. By the year 2022, within the Republic of Armenia, children who had successfully conquered cancer, as well as patients who had completed their primary treatments, along with their families, encountered a lack of access to rehabilitative therapeutic modalities. Hence, the establishment of a center in Armenia is designed to provide an avenue for both children and parents to facilitate their reintegration into their familial and environmental atmosphere.

Patients and methods

Since 2022 (October 17), the first spiritual rehabilitation center addressing specifically pediatric cancer survivors emerged within the area of Getahovit village. In the conception of this center, a due attention was drawn to the international experience of rehabilitation facilities for cancer survivors. This institution facilitates strengthening of family bonds, which often become strained and susceptible due to prolonged hospital stays of the child, along with disturbed attitude of other family members, and appropriate physical and emotional transformations. The center has a total of 27 comfortable 1- and 2- rooms with private bathrooms, a library, a recreation room and a game room, and a kitchen preparing 3 healthy meals a day. The doctor and a nurse supervise the children admitted to the center. Most of the time, individual and group therapies are performed by a psychologist, conversations with clergymen, and art therapy, i.e., pottery, painting, and carpet making. Cognitive excursions, pilgrimages, and cultural entertainment events are also very important. These activities at the rehabilitation center contribute to improvement of the patients’ quality of life, promoting their adaptation for the environment and quick integration into their everyday life.

Results

After commencing the activity of the spiritual rehabilitation center it was attended by two groups of children who have successfully completed cancer treatment. They underwent individual and collective therapeutic interventions, being engaged in communications with spiritual counselors and psychologists. Following individual and group sessions with psychologists, different therapeutic programs, entertainment in the midst of nature, being relaxed from physical and mental stress, the children came home, joined their families returning to everyday life. They experienced a comprehensive alleviation of both physical and psychological burdens. Upon completion of rehabilitative therapies, the children were re-integrated into their families, resuming their customary routines with renewed vigor. Of note is also the opinion of parents who accompanied their children during this transformative phase, who mentioned the discernible and positive outcomes due to the performed rehabilitation programs.

Conclusion

Establishment of the first rehabilitative center gives a distinct opportunity for both children and their family members to start a new life after cancer. This invaluable resource promises a comprehensive rehabilitative care for individuals who overcome long and difficult treatment as well as complex restorative treatment at a cosy rehabilitation center amidst natural environment.

Keywords

Childhood cancer, rehabilitation center, quality of life, psychological support, spiritual support.


Supplement 12-3
09/30/2023

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doi 10.18620/ctt-1866-8836-2023-12-3-1-176

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