Introduction

Amelie has been providing psychosocial assistance to oncology patients and their relatives for long time. We are the only organization in the Czech Republic, which systematically and professionally provides support to the target group. The organization is based in Prague, Central Bohemia region, Olomouc and Liberec region. Amelie offers individual and group advisory, therapeutic, relaxing, active and motivational activities that promote social integration of patients and their families – to help overcome social isolation in which the disease gets them and return them to an active life, or even to work if possible. The organization aims to create support Centres for cancer patients and their loved ones in each region of the country.

Amelie is not patient association and it does not supplement medical care in any point. Rather it complements it with other special activities, with respect to all the professions.

Apart from the Centres Amelie also operates “Amelie Line”, volunteer program in hospitals and Centres, training of professionals and a number of individual projects in support of the target groups.

Origin of Amelie

The project of psychosocial assistance was prepared by Pavla Ticha autumn 2005, at the time 36-year-old disability pensioner after the first cancer treatment. She had extensive experience in project management and marketing communications. She was certain that it is necessary to change many things in the system of care for oncological patients. She came as a volunteer to the ward of the Oncology Clinic 1st Faculty of Medicine, General University Hospital in Prague. Driven by a desire to “humanize” the system of care for cancer patients, she started to build an organization which vision has been unchanged since then.

Oncological disease is the second most common diagnosis leading to death, it also requires treatment that lasts months and often entitles to an invalidity pension (it is the second most common diagnosis leading to an invalidity pension). Number of the disease is increasing. Every third Czech in the course of his life will probably get oncological disease. In Prague every thirtieth person has oncological disease. Factors that people have to deal with are not just cost of disability pensions, how long they will receive pension, but also decline in family income and quality of life.

According to the research findings if cancer patient gets targeted psychosocial care it can lead to reduced treatment costs (L.Travado, IPOS: New Cancer Quality Standards, 2005). It’s because the relevant information that is told in time reduces stress of the patient and his relatives. That increases the patient’s competence to intervene and decide. Sick person also accepts treatment much better, which positively influences progression and duration of survival. Among chronically ill and their relatives it is also frequently developed chronic stress, which affects inflammation and hormonal levels, plus affects blood pressure and threatens cardiovascular health (Sephton and Spiegel, 2003), deteriorates experiencing pain (Sephton et al., 2000; Low et al ., 2009), increases mortality (Koopman et al., 1998) or increases the risk of developing cancer (Andersen et al., 2012).

Additionally, more than 50% of cancer patients suffer distress that has health implications. According to research by Tschuschke more than 50% of cancer patients has difficulty in mood disorders and anxiety. Activities such as yoga or physical activation have a demonstrable effect on physical fitness and reduce levels of stress hormones. Relaxation methods help to achieve healthier lifestyle and cope with excessive stress.