0201 723 6600

Psychosocial Service for the young ones

The paediatric oncology radiotherapy programme at WPE is unique in Europe. Nowhere else do so many children – and in particular so many very young ones – undergo radiotherapy. One reason for this is not least the care offered to young patients by our Psychosocial Service.

The WPE Psychosocial Service offers children, adolescents and their relatives help with any stress and strain they may endure before or during proton therapy.

Stresses and strains on children and adolescents during therapy

Radiotherapy treatment on children and adolescents with tumour disorders can raise new questions and, in some cases, anxiety in the minds of patients, parents, guardians and siblings. The treatment at WPE, which is often far from home, also results in many restrictions and specific requirements:

  • Regular radiotherapy appointments during which the child must lie still
  • Possible sedation if the patient has trouble keeping still during therapy
  • Lots of new routines, equipment and people
  • Comprehensive medical examinations
  • Homesickness
  • Lack of contact with family members and friends not accompanying the patient

All of these points are sometimes perceived by children and young people as huge challenges, making it all the more important to provide psychosocial support that is tailored to specific individual needs. Addressing fears is of particular importance here.

Using interpersonal familiarity to allay fears

During radiotherapy, children and adolescents require particularly sensitive support that is tailored specifically to their needs. This must be geared closely to their individual world of experiences and their ability to understand.

At WPE we offer constant, supportive, age-appropriate interpersonal relationships aimed at:

  • Reducing fears and worries
  • Relieving pressure and offering stability
  • Developing internal resources

Through the support we give, we also seek to improve the therapy conditions and quality of life for young patients – also by acting preventively. That’s why our team tries to start building a relationship with your child during the initial contact. It also involves siblings and family members in this – to build a sustainable relationship right from the start.

Therapy and support services at WPE

The therapy offerings use age-appropriate digital and non-digital media as well as specific scientific methods. There are also concepts for every stage of therapy: from preparation and support through to the end of therapy.  Find out more about our programmes for children and young people at WPE.

The tree house: our friendly family room

We’ve set up a dedicated family room at WPE to support entire families as preparations are made for therapy. This room combines child-friendly furnishings and a convivial design that also permits a wide range of medical uses.

This allows the Psychosocial Service team to conduct initial conversations, undertake crisis intervention work and engage in playful therapies in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere – preparing our young patients perfectly for largely anxiety-free radiotherapy sessions.

A new children’s book explains the processes at the WPE

Find out more about the proton mission in our article.

What happens at WPE? Our children’s book – a heroic story

Adding colour: our art therapy

There’s nothing like colour to make grey days fade away, and since 2019 our young patients have had the opportunity to engage with their illness and treatment creatively and artistically with the aid of our art therapy which is supported by the University Medical Foundation. The focus here is on the light green masks necessary for precise positioning during radiotherapy.

The children and young people add colour to them as a means of making their therapy easier to deal with. But that’s not all: the budding young artists can also paint canvases for the Gallery of Priceless Works of Art, make masks for their cuddly toys or paint pillowcases for their own therapy beds.

Colours and superheroes for courage

Would you like to find out more? Then read our article on the subject.

Any questions about our therapy programmes?

Your initial consultation at WPE will include an appointment, for you and your child, with a member of staff from our Psychosocial Service. If you have any questions before then, you’re welcome to contact us by telephone via Case Management or directly by e-mail:

Case Management: +49 (0)201 723 6600

A short moment of time out

Would you like to find out more about our clinic clowns? Then read our article.

Laughter – the best medicine: our clinic clowns

And … action! Our virtual playground

Positive energy, exercise and fun have a supportive effect in many ways during proton therapy:

  • They aid the healing process
  • They shorten possible waiting times
  • They promote playful contact with other children

We have therefore transformed part of our entrance hall into a virtual playground where children and young people can let off steam playing football, catching frogs or playing tennis. The computerised floor projections are controlled by the feet.

Ice hockey, football & co. for young patients

Find out more about our virtual playground and read our article.

Anything but everyday: our special day initiatives

An outward sign of inner strength: our bravery beads

Children and young people in particular require great courage and stamina to undergo several weeks of radiotherapy. This is an achievement we like to recognise with our certificates of courage and bravery beads. For the latter, the children are able to choose a bead after each radiotherapy session.

Special occasions such as birthdays, public holidays or stressful radiotherapy sessions are also rewarded with a special bead, and on the final day of therapy our young patients are then presented with their string of beads complete with a certificate of courage to take home – as outward signs of their superb achievement.

A special way to mark the end of therapy: our “Glückauf Bell”

When patients complete their final radiotherapy session at WPE, they get to ring a bell mounted on the lobby wall – harking back to Essen’s mining heritage when miners going off duty would greet the incoming shift with the word “Glückauf”, wishing them a safe return to ground level.
It can be rung (loudly and proudly) by all those – young and old – who have completed this important milestone, expressing pride in their own achievements and as an encouragement to others.
The “Glückauf Bell” was unveiled by German actor Henning Baum.

Strength in difficult times

The WPE says goodbye to its patients after the last radiotherapy session with a melodious…

Please contact us

If you have any questions or suggestions concerning our therapy programmes for children and young people, please contact our Case Management team.

    Quick enquiry

    Case management

    The case management of WPE will assist you with questions you may have