Patient Support Services

Nurse Navigator

The Nurse Navigator is a nursing professional who provides support for patients and families from the difficult time of diagnosis, through every step of their treatment. The Nurse Navigator services are available to patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses, and works closely with the Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator. The Nurse Navigator helps patients and families navigate through UConn Health’s multidisciplinary system, eliminate or reduce barriers to cancer care, coordinate appointments within the Cancer Center and UConn Health, learn more about their diagnosis and treatment, and utilize local resources and support. All patients with suspicious findings should receive a timely resolution to those findings through diagnoses and treatment. This will result in better outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. For health care professionals, the value is in better patient preparedness, improved collaboration among health professionals, and more efficient use of clinical involvement and identification of service gaps.

Wendy Thibodeau, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N.

Wendy Thibodeau, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N.
Phone: 860-692-8455
Fax: 860-676-3434
Email: wthibodeau@uchc.edu

Breast Nurse Navigator

UConn’s Breast Nurse Navigator is a nursing professional who is dedicated to coordinate the clinical, educational and supportive needs of our patients who are either facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis or newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The Breast Nurse Navigator is here to help you and your loved ones navigate along the way.

The Breast Nurse Navigator serves as a consistent and knowledgeable clinical resource to assist patients throughout their course of treatment. She coordinates care between health care providers (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, physician’s office) and connects patients and families to resources for disease management or treatment-related problems. She identifies the educational needs of patients and families and ensures that these needs are met.

Thanks to support from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and other national groups, as well as generous support from the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, our team is also engaged in exciting research to improve breast cancer diagnoses, treatments and prevention strategies.

Molly Tsipouras, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N., CPBN-IC

Molly Tsipouras, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N., CPBN-IC
Phone: 860-480-1981
Fax: 860-676-3437
Email: mtsipouras@uchc.edu

Patient Navigator

A cancer diagnosis can stop a person in their tracks… let alone all of the appointments and consultations that follow, often spanning many months. That’s why the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, with generous support from the American Cancer Society, started a “navigator” program for all patients with cancer and was able to hire a full-time, on-site navigator who is accessible to all patients. He/she is based prominently in the cancer center’s resource center and provides assistance:

  • making appointments;
  • accompanying patients to medical appointments and various treatments within UConn Health;
  • connecting patients to the vast resources available through the American Cancer Society; and
  • providing support, guidance and listening.

The program is closely linked with the American Cancer Society, which provides 24-hour assistance to patients and families through its hotline and tremendous on-line library. In addition, the cancer society provides a range of hands-on services for patients and families including support groups, assistance with wigs and make-up and much more.

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program is also supported by a dedicated group of volunteers who helped the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center launch a navigator program for breast cancer patients in 2006.

Cancer Resource Center

The cancer resource center at UConn Health is certified by the American Cancer Society and offers patients, families and the public valuable information about cancer, local programs and community resources.

Located within UConn’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, the resource center is staffed by volunteers who assist visitors in obtaining information about prevention, early detection, treatment guidelines and support groups.

Information and services at the resource center include:

  • Cancer Information Database: The information is updated regularly by physicians and includes treatments, risk factors, prevention and checkup guidelines.
  • Community Resource Database: Access to resources and support groups in the community.
  • Cancer Survivors Network®: Connect with other survivors via phone or internet.
  • Videos and books available for loan.
  • Printed materials and educational tools.
  • Free wigs and breast prostheses if not covered by insurance.

The resource center also provides a number of patient support programs:

  • Look Good Feel Better: Tips to look your best while undergoing cancer treatment, including makeup, scarves and wigs.
  • I Can Cope®: An education and support program for cancer patients, families and friends.
  • Road to RecoverySM: Transportation provided to necessary treatment appointments.
  • Reach to Recovery®: One-to-one support for women with breast cancer.

Volunteers from the American Cancer Society are also an integral part of the patient navigator program. They act as patient advocates by helping them get through the maze of medical treatments. Volunteers help schedule appointments and screening tests, arrange for rides to and from medical exams, and provide support through friendship.

Contact Information

The Cancer Resource Center is on the left as you enter the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Volunteers are at the center Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon and some afternoons. If you’re visiting the center at another time, please call 860-679-4966 to schedule an appointment.

Free Cosmetology Services for Cancer Survivors

Woman resting her face on her handsLook Good Feel Better is a free program to help improve the self-image and self-esteem of women experiencing appearance-related side effects from cancer treatment. Learn more >