Friday, March 01, 2013 - STAR Cancer Rehab Program

Holy Family Memorial, Manitowoc, will be the first hospital in Wisconsin to implement the nationally recognized STAR Program® which offers cancer rehab services to survivors. HFM has already begun the STAR Program® Certification training. The program will be open to patients on March 1.

Julie Silver, MD, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and a cancer survivor herself, developed the STAR Program. After going through cancer treatment, she realized rehabilitation was in order to return to her former level of function. Dr. Silver says, “Survivorship services, including oncology rehabilitation are imperative to cancer care. Every cancer survivor should be offered the opportunity to heal as well as possible and function at an optimal level whether their cancer is cured, in remission or they live with cancer as a chronic disease.”

The STAR Program is a nationally recognized cancer survivorship program that focuses on helping survivors to heal both physically and emotionally. It utilizes an interdisciplinary approach in which caregivers from different specialties – including physicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, mental health professionals, etc. work with each patient on a personalized rehabilitation plan to increase strength and energy, alleviate pain, and improve daily function and quality of life. HFM’s knowledgeable and sensitive medical personnel will now be specially trained to work with survivors of all forms of cancer.

Joy Singer, Director of HFM Cancer Services, commented “I’m really excited about the STAR program because it will help patients improve or maintain their strength so they can get through treatment feeling better and when their treatment is completed, back to the activities they love faster.” Residents of the Lakeshore area will have opportunities not really available elsewhere in Wisconsin to have a special kind of support available to them as they recover from their cancer diagnosis.

To receive certification, a team from HFM will complete the STAR program training. Vicki Schiesl-Petska, HFM Physical Therapist Assistant and STAR Program Coordinator told us, “The STAR Program provides the HFM network with the tools necessary to continue to provide and enhance exceptional care for all past and present cancer patients not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. This program will truly make a difference in the lives of our cancer patients.”

HFM is proud to be leading the way in Wisconsin by offering excellent cancer rehabilitation services to its patients through becoming STAR Program Certified. For more information on the STAR program, visit
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