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UVM Medical Center Main Campus

Oncology Rehabilitation – Steps to Wellness

32 Mallets Bay Ave
Winooski, VT 05404

Monday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
 

What is Steps to Wellness?

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Steps to Wellness (STW) is a FREE, medically-informed rehabilitation and group-exercise program that serves the unique needs of cancer survivors. This 12-week program is specifically designed to help participants achieve renewed levels of strength and wellbeing and to provide practical tools to enhance lifelong health benefits.  

The supervised gym program is offered free of charge, thanks to the Victoria Buffum Endowed Fund at the UVM Cancer Center, Jane S. Lande and the Larner College of Medicine at UVM Marathon Team, as well as ongoing philanthropic support from members of the community

*Steps to Wellness is now being offered as a fully online/remote program, allowing us to extend this opportunity to rural UVM MC patients in VT and NY.

REMOTE PROGRAM ORIENTATION HOURS

Tuesdays & Thursdays
3:30 pm — 5 pm

REMOTE PROGRAM HOURS

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
5 pm – 6 pm       

Virtual Group Exercise: Meeting the Needs of Survivors During a Pandemic

Learn about Steps to Wellness, the UVM Cancer Center’s free 12-week Oncology/Hematology Rehabilitation Program, and how we support and empower cancer survivors through a proven and structured group approach to exercise.  Explore the transition strategies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic from in-person exercise training to virtual (remote) group exercise, that have allowed many survivors to stay active and healthy during an unpredictable time.

Cancer Rehabilitation

If you are not ready to begin the supervised Steps to Wellness exercise program due to pain, balance, deconditioning/fatigue, lymphedema, or orthopedic issues, you may be referred to one on one skilled physical therapy in order to address these needs. Once improvements are made in these areas, your physical therapist may transition you back to the supervised Steps to Wellness exercise program.

 

Steps to Wellness Program Details 

What is Steps to Wellness? 

Steps to Wellness (STW) is a FREE, medically-informed rehabilitation and group-exercise program that serves the unique needs of cancer survivors. This 12-week program is specifically designed to help participants achieve renewed levels of strength and wellbeing and to provide practical tools to enhance lifelong health benefits.  

How to Get Started:

Program Eligibility and Referral:

Individuals with a diagnosis of cancer or a hematologic disorder, at any stage or time frame, are eligible to participate. Your oncology team may refer you to the program, or you may self-refer and contact the program directly. 

Intake Evaluations: (Remote evaluation options available) 

Prior to beginning the 12-week exercise program your baseline health and physical fitness will be assessed through a: 

  • 1 hour evaluation with a physical therapist (PT)
  • 1 hour evaluation with a health care provider specializing in cancer may also be needed 

If our team determines that you are not ready to start the group program, you will receive one-on-one physical therapy or other referrals as needed. 

Billing:

Your insurance will be billed for the initial evaluations, however you will not be charged for any portion of the bill that your insurance does not pay. You will only be responsible for the co-pay or co-insurance associated with your plan. If this presents a hardship for you, please let us know; we do not want finances to limit your ability to participate.

The 12-week Program:

Group Placement:

Once you have completed the intake evaluations and are cleared to participate, you will be assigned a start date based on your availability, preference of in-person or remote program and openings in the group. Up to 6 participants will be placed in each new group.

Orientation:

You and your group will complete two orientation sessions designed to teach the fundamentals of exercise training. Our certified exercise trainers will safely guide the group through each program component to review effective training techniques, assist with equipment recommendations and provide individual exercise modifications as needed to ensure proper form and posture. 

Group-Exercise:

The remainder of your 12-week program will consist of 2 trainer-led group exercise classes per week. Each class will consist of strength & aerobic training as well as balance, flexibility and posture exercises. Consistent attendance is encouraged for optimal program benefits. We also encourage exercise on other days of the week.  

Remote group: Each class is 60 minutes long and held on Zoom.  

In-Person group: Each class is 75 minutes long and held at the Rehab Therapy Clinic at the O’Brien Community Center in Winooski. Participants must be vaccinated and wear masks.

Lifestyle management:

In addition to exercise, healthy habits are also important. Steps to Wellness offers presentations on nutrition and stress management and how each relate to cancer to help initiate and maintain lifestyle changes. These educational classes are held every other month and taught by clinicians from the UVM Cancer Center.  Participants are highly encouraged to attend.  

In addition, mindfulness and weight management programs may be available either during or after your 12-week program.   

Program Completion: 

After completing your 12-week program, you will be encouraged to continue exercising regularly, ideally 5 times a week. To assist with this goal, you will be invited to join our remote group exercise program for STW graduates who are interested in continued accountability. Classes are 60 minutes long and led by a certified exercise trainer on Zoom.  

Program benefits: 

A cancer diagnosis, and the treatment that follows, can pose powerful challenges to both body and mind. Regular exercise strengthens the heart, muscles, and bones, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases energy.  Feeling stronger can restore a sense of trust in one’s own body and in its ability to heal and stay healthy.   

Many Steps to Wellness participants say that establishing a pattern of regular exercise and other healthy lifestyle behaviors is invigorating and empowering, and has helped them return to the normal routines of daily life. 

Cancer Resources

Below you can find links and resources for cancer education and support.