Pediatric Oncology Branch: Support Services

As part of the comprehensive care provided at the NCI Pediatric Oncology Branch, we provide a wide range of services to address the social, psychological, emotional, and practical facets of pediatric cancer and to support patients and families while they are enrolled in clinical research protocols.

Sibling Day

Children at sibling day participating in activities at the NIH clinical center.

This yearly event offers siblings of pediatric patients at the NIH Clinical Center to visit the NIH campus and participate in activities to help them better

understand the laboratory and clinical tools used by researchers. The goal of this program is for siblings to learn about the procedures their brother or sister experiences, to provide a supportive opportunity for open discussion of feelings and reactions to the illness, and where for one whole day, they are provided with attention and recognition for their unique role in their siblings’ illness.

This year's event will take place on July 12th.  View the schedule for Sibling Day 2023 here  and contact Dr. Lori Wiener at to register. 

Coffee, Tea & Chat Program

Weekly chat support group

To address the needs of our families, the Psychosocial Support Program holds “chat” sessions several times each week that are designed for family participation. Sessions focus on areas such as:

  • parenting skills
  • pain management
  • palliative care interventions
  • coping and adjustment
  • tips for staying connected to and caring for one’s other children
  • children’s learning styles
  • nutrition
  • discipline
  • relaxation
  • complementary medicine
  • treatment of sleep disturbances

Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists & Chaplains

A social worker will contact you by phone prior to your first visit to help you arrange your transportation and stay either at The Children’s Inn at NIH or at a hotel. A social worker will also meet with you shortly after you arrive at the hospital to help you get settled, provide support and assess your current needs. The Social Work staff is available to support you and your family by offering counseling and information about referrals to services within the hospital and your home community. At anytime, if you need to talk to your social worker, have the clinic or hospital nurse call or page the social worker for you. Along with social workers, psychology and psychiatry staff are also available to provide consultation, therapy and support to patients and their family members. The focus can be on:

  • managing stress
  • resolving emotional distress (anxiety, anger, depression, fear, grief)
  • developing coping strategies
  • managing behavior and compliance
  • helping with conflicts in relationships (parent-child or family member-family member)
  • pain management
  • developing social skills
  • dealing with learning difficulties or issues of self-esteem/self-confidence
  • adjustment to illness
  • psychoeducation
  • manage mood and behavioral changes 
  • make the transition off of active treatment 

Chaplains are also available, upon your request, to help you with spiritual support, counseling and sacramental needs. Chaplains have Bibles and other inspirational literature available that may be of comfort to you and your family during the treatment process.

If you would like to speak with a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or chaplain, ask your child’s doctor or nurse to help arrange this for you.

We are a Multidisciplinary Team

craft beads and paints

Families and patients can benefit from different types of support during an illness. Our team includes social workers, psychologists, recreation therapists, art therapists, and psychiatrists working together to provide:

We also work closely with other NIH programs, including: