Covenant HealthCare STAR Program® in Oncology Rehabilitation

You just fought your health’s biggest adversary – cancer. But as a survivor of cancer, you still have to journey on the road to full recovery. So just like you claimed victory over cancer, we want to help you do the same during cancer rehabilitation. Our Covenant HealthCare STAR Program® in Oncology Rehabilitation gives you the extraordinary care you need to restore your health and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.

What makes our Covenant HealthCare STAR Program® so extraordinary?

We are committed to bringing you the highest level of survivorship services.
In recent years, there has been much talk about creating survivorship as a distinct phase of cancer care and providing each patient with a survivorship care plan. At Covenant HealthCare, in Saginaw, MI, we are committed to offering the best available survivorship services. This is why we have implemented the STAR Program® that includes training our staff in the latest oncology rehab care and implementing research-based protocols that have been proven to help cancer survivors optimally heal and function.

We offer comprehensive care that is covered by health insurance.
We are uniquely qualified to offer premium oncology rehabilitation services to cancer survivors undergoing treatment or living with its aftermath. Our program has been created to help survivors physically and emotionally heal from the side effects of treatments. We provide our patients with the most comprehensive rehabilitation care available and all of our services are reimbursable by health insurance providers. Having access to world-class follow up care, without added medical costs, will allow survivors to regain their health and get their lives back on track.

We are committed to helping you reach optimal recovery.
A cancer diagnosis can be traumatic and so can life-saving treatments. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery can harm health and cause serious medical problems that interfere with daily function and well-being. Survivors are commonly plagued with symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, insomnia, memory loss, fear, anxiety and depression. Covenant HealthCare STAR Program offers important physical and psychological rehabilitation to survivors so they can recover more quickly and more completely than they would otherwise. Feeling well and being able to resume normal day-to-day activities is essential to enjoying a good quality of life for survivors and their families.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or long finished with treatment, we can help.
We serve all survivors in need, whether they are beginning treatment, finished with treatment, or experiencing late effects or unresolved issues from long-ago treatment. Our program is open to everyone no matter the prognosis, cancer stage or phase of recovery. Newly diagnosed patients may want to increase their strength and endurance and prevent future medical problems; survivors living with cancer as a chronic disease may come to us for help managing treatment-related conditions; and individuals who are cured or in remission may enroll in our program with the goal of boosting their immune systems so that they can heal as well as possible.

Our highly trained medical staff awaits you.

Our rehabilitation care, based on conventional medicine, is offered to patients by a knowledgeable and sensitive medical staff, specially trained to treat survivors of all forms of cancer. They are medical experts at the top of their fields and comprise a variety of disciplines:

  • Physicians
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech and Swallowing Therapists
  • Registered Dieticians and Nutritionists
  • Mental Health Professionals

When evaluating your needs, we look at the “big picture.”

Rather than using a “problem-oriented” approach and tackle each health issue as it arises, we address the full spectrum of post-cancer care. When evaluating a patient, in addition to focusing on his or her health conditions and symptoms, we take into consideration diet, sleep issues, existing pain, endurance, strength, exercise habits and emotional outlook. All of these factors have an important effect on physical healing.

We offer you a personalized rehab plan with an interdisciplinary approach.

After undergoing a thorough evaluation by a physician, a “team” of medical specialists to include Medical Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Pastoral Care, Physicians, Physical Therapists, Registered Dieticians, Registered Nurses, and Speech Language Pathologists are assigned to each patient according to his or her individual needs. The healthcare “team” creates a personalized rehabilitation plan, with the goals of increasing strength and energy, alleviating pain, improving physical functioning, achieving emotional balance and boosting the immune system. Each team member provides his or her expert medical guidance, training, encouragement and support, for the duration of the program.

We are proud to be STAR Program® Certified.
We received our STAR Program Certification from Massachusetts-based Oncology Rehab Partners (ORP), whose unparalleled development, training and support products in oncology rehabilitation give healthcare facilities the capacity to offer quality survivorship care to their patients. Saint Alphonsus’ STAR Program successfully executed Oncology Rehab Partners’ evaluation and treatment procedure, and our medical staff underwent rigorous rehabilitation training by oncology experts.

To learn more about the Covenant HealthCare STAR Program®, refer to the information below or call us at 1.866.COVENANT (1.866.268.3626)

What is the STAR Program?
The STAR Program (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) is a nationally recognized cancer survivorship certification that focuses on improving the lives of survivors who suffer from the side effects caused by treatments. The STAR Program provides you with coordinated cancer rehabilitation supported by a team of specially trained STAR Clinicians. As a STAR Program patient, you will receive individualized, comprehensive cancer rehabilitation treatment to improve the symptoms affecting your daily functioning and quality of life.

What is Cancer rehabilitation?
Cancer rehabilitation is very similar to other forms of rehabilitation after a serious illness or injury. Services should include consultation with appropriate board-certified or licensed clinicians in rehabilitation medicine, including physiatrists (doctors who specialize in rehabilitation medicine), rehabilitation nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

What impairments can be addressed through cancer rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation professionals can help you with a wide variety of treatment-related conditions and their symptoms, including pain, weakness, fatigue, shoulder problems, balance and gait problems, memory and concentration issues, swallowing and speech problems and lymphedema.

How do I create a cancer rehabilitation plan?
Your cancer rehabilitation plan will depend on individualized goals that focus on increasing strength and energy, managing pain and improving your functioning and quality of life. Additional resources are also available to you if you need them. A helpful tool is the STAR Program Survivor Guidebook, which provides valuable tips including how to set specific goals as well as suggestions about exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

What are the benefits of STAR Program® Cancer Rehabilitation?

1. Reduce Fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most common and disabling problems that cancer survivors face. There is Category 1 level evidence for exercise as an intervention for CRF. However, for cancer survivors who have impairments, it is important to refer them for rehabilitation therapy consultations rather than group exercise classes. This is similar to how stroke survivors and other patients with impairments are rehabilitated. The impairments need to be addressed and a therapeutic exercise program prescribed. Rehabilitation consultations should include physical therapy. Physiatry and occupational therapy may also be consulted.

2. Reduce Pain. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is also a common problem in many survivors. When treating conditions such as CIPN, it is important to recognize the distinction between impairment and disability. By definition, disability results from impairment (an injured part of the body that may or may not be reversible). Even when impairment, such as CIPN, is not reversible the level of disability can be decreased by research. Many “low-tech” interventions that an occupational therapist would prescribe such as a smart phone, voice-activated software, large handled tools, stress mats and more can help to decrease disability in patients with CIPN. Physical therapist can help decrease disability by focusing on balance, gait and footwear (e.g., extra depth or width shoes, rocker bottom soles). Physiatrists also may play an important role in managing chronic pain and disability from CIPN and sometimes will prescribe medications or other interventions. Therefore, referrals to rehabilitation for CIPN may include physiatry, physical and occupational therapy.

3. Improve Cognitive Function. Many cancer survivors report that they have a “chemo brain” or MCI. Neurocognitive rehabilitation interventions, for example in patients with post-concussive syndromes, have been well studied. Neurocognitive rehabilitation often includes helping people to decrease their level of disability by using various strategies to assist with focus, concentration, attention, memory and organizational skills. Many cancer survivors find referrals to speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists enormously helpful for “chemo-brain.” Appropriate referrals for MCI may include physiatry, mental health, speech-language pathology and occupational therapy.