Bone Marrow Failure Psychosocial Services

A serious illness, such as a bone marrow failure syndrome, can be very challenging for patients and their families. Our psychosocial team is here to help your child understand their diagnosis and adjust to their illness and treatment, as well as to help connect your family with resources and provide support throughout the course of your child's illness. Our multidisciplinary team consists of a Social Worker and a Pediatric Psychologist who are here to offer guidance and support.

Pediatric psychologist

Having an illness is stressful. Sometimes this stress can lead to difficulties with a child's ability to manage their emotions and/or behaviors, and affect their ability to cope with their illness and treatment plan. A pediatric psychologist provides assessment and intervention services aimed to help improve your child's psychological well-being and quality of life. A pediatric psychologist can work with you and your child to assist in the following areas:

  • Adjusting to a new diagnosis
  • Coping with their illness and treatment plan
  • Medication and treatment adherence
  • Teaching coping strategies to help manage feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety or pain that often accompany an illness
  • Improving health behaviors (sleep, diet, and physical activity

Jennifer Brereton, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and is the pediatric psychologist for the Bone Marrow Failure team. Dr. Brereton’s primary clinical and research interests include coping with chronic illnesses, treatment adherence, pain management, and trauma.

A team member may refer your child to Dr. Brereton if your child is displaying any difficulties coping with their illness, or you may request a consult if you have any concerns about your child’s emotional well-being. Dr. Brereton will take a collaborative approach with your family and your child’s medical team to create a treatment plan which will address your child’s specific needs. Depending on the need and other factors, treatment can vary widely from brief consultations and recommendations, regularly scheduled outpatient therapy (individual and family), inpatient services and support, coordinating care with community mental health providers and schools, etc. The primary goals of treatment are to help your child learn and utilize effective coping strategies so that their emotions and behaviors do not interfere with their medical treatment, and to help improve your child’s quality of life. Dr. Brereton also works with parents and caregivers to provide support, teach effective strategies to help support their child throughout the medical treatment process and to foster their child’s use of strategies learned in therapy sessions.

Social worker

At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, social workers are members of interdisciplinary teams and provide a variety of clinical services to children, adolescents and families. A social worker’s role as part of the medical team is to offer support, information and education. Social workers help assess the psychosocial needs of your child and family, provide supportive counseling and also connect you to the appropriate community or hospital resources.

Charles Adams MSW, is the social worker on the Bone Marrow Failure team. He has extensive experience helping patients and families find resources that will help them navigate diagnosis and treatment.