News and Events

Israeli First: Unique Caregivers Training Program Launched at Rambam Health Care Campus

Publication Date: 9/19/2022 10:30 AM

Rambam Health Care Campus is offering a unique training program for the caregivers of young oncology patients in collaboration with the “Halasartan” Project and the Israel Cancer Association. This course is the first of its kind in Israel.

Course participants of caregivers training program. Photography: Rambam HCC.Course participants of caregivers training program. Photography: Rambam HCC.

Recent decades have seen a marked increase in cancer diagnoses in Israel, particularly among young people ranging from 18 to 45 years of age. A challenge for any healthcare therapy team, the increased number of cancer diagnoses in this age group is a worldwide phenomenon. The result has been numerous epidemiological studies since young people present with different disease characteristics than those found among older adults.

In 2019, a unique program for young cancer patients was launched in Rambam’s Joseph Fishman Oncology Center under the leadership of Professor Irit Ben-Aharon, head of the center, in collaboration with the Halasartan Project and the Israel Cancer Association. The program includes the active participation of these young cancer patients aimed at the dynamic formulation of an optimal treatment approach for each person. This highly successful initiative provides a broad range of services; tools and skills specifically adapted for this age group were formulated according to different cancer diagnoses and treatment therapies.

Following the program’s success, similar projects were established in other cancer centers in Israel. Rambam and its collaborators are now taking a step forward with the inception of a special, one-of-a-kind course in Israel to meet the needs of the caregivers of young oncology patients.

Every day, 10 young Israelis are diagnosed with cancer. Faced with unique challenges, these young cancer patients need a distinctive care approach that addresses the physical and psychological aspects of the disease, as well as the long-term consequences of treatment-related side effects. Because of the long life expectancy for these young cancer patients, it is equally essential to prevent and reduce the long-term post-cancer harm and persistent side effects resulting from the treatments. To meet this challenge, large cancer centers worldwide have established innovative and flexible supportive care programs targeted at different subgroups among the young oncology patient population (such as breast cancer patients, colon cancer patients, etc.).

With the above challenges in mind, the Rambam Knowledge Center has established a trailblazing program in Israel to improve the nature and quality of treatment for young oncology patients. The program is coordinated by Orna Ben-Yakov, Director of Nursing in Rambam’s Division of Oncology and Svetlana Nemtsov, Rambam’s Youth Program Nurse Coordinator. The program focuses on training multidisciplinary allied healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, support care staff, social workers, spiritual caregivers, psychologists, and paramedical teams such as physical therapists and occupational therapists) seeking to deepen their knowledge in the treatment of young oncology patients.

Professor Irit Ben Aharon opened the first track of the training program with a survey of the overall picture of cancer in young people and the challenges for them and their caregivers. Some 28 medical professionals from various healthcare providers throughout the country are participating in the program.