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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 12 week supervised group exercise program for cancer survivors, during which there are also educational opportunities provided for lifestyle management. The program is open to all survivors, regardless of their type of cancer or time since diagnosis. 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.

Download the Steps to Wellness brochure.

What is steps to wellness?

Steps to Wellness is a medically-informed rehabilitation and group-exercise program that serves the unique needs of cancer survivors. The 12-week program is specifically designed to help participants achieve renewed levels of strength, and wellbeing, and to provide practical tools to create 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 

How to Get Started:

Program Eligibility and Referral:

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

Intake Evaluations: 
(virtual 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

If our team determines that you are not yet ready to start the 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 what finances to limit your ability to participate.

The 12-week program:

Group Placement:

Once you have completed the evaluations and are cleared to participate, you will be assigned a start date based on your availability and space. Up to 6 new participants will be placed in each new group.

Orientation:

Together, you and your group will complete 3 orientation sessions, all led by two certified exercise trainers who will teach you the fundamental exercises needed throughout the program. Trainers will also review home safety tips, proper training guidelines, equipment recommendations and will work with you to provide individual modifications as needed.

Group-Exercise:

The remainder of your 12-week program will consist of 3 trainer-led exercise classes per week, all held LIVE on Zoom.  Each class is 60-minutes and will consist of balance practice, strength & aerobic training and flexibility exercises.

Equipment: Sturdy chair, set of weighted objects, loose fitting clothing to allow movement, water bottle and supportive shoes.

Lifestyle management:

In addition to exercise, healthy habits are also important. The program includes a variety of classes to help you make lifestyle changes, including presentations on nutrition and stress management and how they relate to cancer. These programs take place virtually during your scheduled exercise sessions. Participants are highly encouraged to attend. 

Program Completion:

At the end of your 12-week program, you will be invited to join our graduate program, where you may join other program graduates to continue exercising 3 days per week with the trainers, LIVE 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.

Transitioning to a remote format has allowed our program to reach individuals with cancer or hematologic problems in rural Vermont and New York

Cancer Resources

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