Patient & Family Advisory Council

Radiation Oncology takes a patient and family centered approach

Patient & Family Centered Care
Child life specialist Kristan Freitag strives to improve the patient experience during radiation therapy.

Our mission to constantly improve and deliver the best possible patient care includes not only individualized cancer therapy, but also individualized support of the physical, social and emotional well-being of our patients and their families. We formed a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) comprised of clinicians, former radiation patients, family members and radiation therapy caregivers to reflect on their treatment and recommend potential ways to improve the experience. We've learned that the best way to improve the patient experience is individualized patient preparation and patient and family involvement throughout the treatment journey. To that end, we offer the following supportive services:

Pediatric Patients

What is Child Life? 

Child Life Specialists are trained professionals who have a background in child development. Our ultimate goal is to help patients and families cope with being in the hospital setting. We do this through various ways such as providing developmentally appropriate play opportunities, supporting the family-centered care approach, helping patients gain skills to cope with medical experiences, medical play sessions, procedural preparation and support, etc.. These and many other important support services are available children and families through CS Mott Children's Hospital.

How Child Life supports patients in radiation oncology at Michigan Medicine

  • Procedure Preparation: We customize the procedure preparation to each patient. We prepare patients for simulation and radiation treatment by allowing the patients to explore and manipulate the medical equipment and explaining the radiation therapy treatment process and what they might hear, see, feel, and smell.
  • Procedural Support: Helps reduce anxiety and fear by providing distraction before, during, and after treatment. We can help patients establish coping techniques such as music selection, communication throughout each treatment, audio books, deep breathing, relaxation, etc. Our goal is to give them the tools in order to create a sense of mastery over their radiation treatment.
  • Medical Play: We use medical play as a teaching tool to identify misconceptions, promote mastery, and allow expression of feelings.
  • Developmentally Appropriate Play: We provide play opportunities to help normalize the hospital environment.

Additional resources available to pediatric patients

Share your experience

Contact Kristan Freitag if you’re interested in improving the future of patient care for those receiving radiation therapy.

Learn more about Patient and Family Centered Care

Adult Patients

In addition to assisting adult patients receiving radiation therapy, we offer support to their children. This includes providing reading materials, facilitating medical play sessions, showing and discussing what radiation therapy is and how it is helping their loved parent.

Additional resources available to adult patients