September 20, 2013

MaineGeneral to offer STAR Program for cancer survivors

Morning Sentinel Staff

MaineGeneral Medical Center is the first hospital in Maine to offer nationally recognized, certified rehabilitation services to patients suffering the side effects of cancer treatment, according to a MaineGeneral press release.

The hospital earned its STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehab) Program certification from the Massachusetts-based Oncology Rehab Partners, leading experts in the field of cancer survivor care.

MaineGeneral clinicians, including physical, occupational and speech therapists, nurses and dietitians completed rigorous training to earn the certification. They work together with each patient on a personalized rehabilitation plan.

The program focuses on helping cancer survivors function at the highest possible level. Cancer treatment often causes significant pain, fatigue and disability for survivors. "Our goal is to minimize these side effects and encourage cancer survivors to have the best quality of life possible," Cathy Bourque, manager of Physical Therapy at MaineGeneral, said in the release.

The program was co-founded by Julie Silver MD, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and herself a cancer survivor. She developed the program after going through cancer treatment and realizing she needed rehabilitation in order to return to her former level of function.

It is offered at three MaineGeneral outpatient therapy centers, in Augusta, Manchester and Waterville as well as through MaineGeneral HomeCare.

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