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AAMC First to Offer Online Skill Building Group for Cancer Patients Through LiveSTRONG

(March 13, 2013)— Anne Arundel Medical Center is one of 20 hospitals nationwide providing Pillars4Life, an online coping-skills program for cancer patients and their caregivers. The hospital was the first to successfully launch the program earlier this year.

“Providing patients and their families with a way for them to get critically necessary psychosocial care from the comfort of home is one more way we are reaching beyond our walls,” says Ashley Varner, an oncology social worker with Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Pillars4Life, which is a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project, utilizes specially trained mental health professionals to teach its curriculum. Patients and loved ones come together in online groups, via phone or video conference, and are guided through a 10-session coping skills training course—all from the comfort of their own homes.

“Many people find the fear, confusion, anxiety, and distress that often accompany cancer and its treatment overwhelming,” says Varner. “Many families also find themselves ill-equipped to communicate effectively around difficult topics, which can make coping with cancer even more difficult.”

Pillars4Life teaches patients and their loved ones concrete skills for relieving fear, clearing confusion, gaining a sense of control, and cultivating inner peace. The core curriculum of the Pillars4Life program, The Seven Pillars of Personal Recovery ™, has been proven in a study at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center to enhance the quality of life of cancer patients across a range of symptoms including distress, despair, helplessness, hopelessness, and fatigue.

“With this program we are providing patients and their loved ones with tools for reimagining their cancer journeys and reengaging in their lives. The skills they learn are skills for a lifetime—during cancer treatment and beyond,” adds Varner.

For more information on the program or to learn how you can participate, call 443-481-4289.

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