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Support programs

Certified Child Life specialists

The Child Life Program helps children and families cope with the stress and anxiety of hospitalization. Child Life Specialists at work in partnership with families, doctors, nurses, and other caregivers to meet the unique emotional and developmental needs of children and families. You can request a consultation by calling (352) 594-6470 or asking your medical team for a referral.

Streetlight: Adolescent & young adult support

Streetlight is an adolescent and young adult support program here at UF Health for people aged 13-25 living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, and other chronic and life-limiting illnesses. The services are available during a patient’s admission to Shands Hospital. To request services, ask your medical team or call *50917 from a hospital phone.

Hospital Homebound: education during treatment

A homebound or hospitalized student is a student who has a medically diagnosed physical or psychiatric condition which is acute or catastrophic in nature, or a chronic illness, or a repeated intermittent illness due to a persisting medical problem and that confines the student to home or hospital and restricts activities for an extended period of time. If hospital/homebound services are needed, the clinical social worker will coordinate with the family, the medical team, and the hospital school teacher to refer the family.

Medial interpreters and translators

We provide interpretation services each year to thousands of patients and their families with limited English proficiency to ensure patient safety and compassionate care. Please contact the Office of Patient Experience for assistance at (352) 353-5084.

Pediatric oncology social work

Local and online support programs

  • Stupid Cancer!– nonprofit organization and the leader in young adult cancer advocacy, research, and support. They create shared experiences by producing life-changing live events and digital content that end isolation, build community, provide education, and foster meaningful relationships that last a lifetime. They’re mission is to empower, support, and improve health outcomes for the young adult (ages 15 – 39) cancer community.
  • Momcology: a national nonprofit organization committed to extending the benefits of community by providing peer support for childhood cancer families. They provide modern platforms for primary caregivers to connect with each other, support one another, seek current and timely information, and begin the long-term healing process after a childhood cancer diagnosis through a strong, resilient and educated peer support community.
  • NCCS Mentoring Program: National Childhood Cancer Society (NCCS) provides an opportunity for children ages 10-17 who are in treatment to be partnered with childhood cancer survivors who are now young adults. The mentors are an experienced guide, trusted ally, and caring role model in helping face the challenges of childhood cancer.
  • HealthStreet Cancer Connections: Cancer Connections is a monthly educational and networking meeting held at HealthStreet for cancer healthcare professionals and cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Anyone who is involved in the care or treatment of cancer patients or who provide a service to them is welcomed to join. The group meets at HealthStreet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month from 12pm-1pm featuring prominent cancer healthcare professionals. For more information about how to get involved with Cancer Connections, contact Barb Thomas at
  • ACCO Support Group on American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) introduced a 24/7 online community in partnership with in 2008. They’ve created a place where you can connect with others who know what you are going through. Among the many exciting features the new community offers, you can:
    • Participate in discussion groups – or just read what others have to say
    • Post personal profiles – share as much or as little as you’d like
    • Post personal photos or videos
    • Invite other members to be friends
    • Create a personal journal (or “blog”) where you can express your feelings and allow others to comment
    • Read others’ journals to learn about their experiences
  • NCCS Family Support Program: National Childhood Cancer Society (NCCS) helps ease the emotional strain a childhood cancer diagnosis takes on families by providing a case manager who stands by a family’s side throughout their journey. NCCS case managers are trained in providing practical and emotional support to parents and caregivers. These dedicated individuals offer support during difficult times, educate parents and caregivers on how to best advocate for their child and provide referrals when needed.
  • CBTF Family to Family Mentor Program: Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF)’s longest running program, the Family 2 Family (F2F) Mentor Program connects caregiver, survivor, and bereaved caregiver mentors to families who are seeking peer support. They recognize the expertise and support which can be provided by people who have shared a similar experience.

Psychosocial support at UF Health

Arts in Medicine (Inpatient Only)

  • Monday – Friday, 9a – 5pm
  • Artists in residence & volunteers
  • Visual, performing, & literary arts at bedside
  • Contact: Via Bedside Nurse

Case Management (Inpatient Only)

  • Referral for home medical supplies
  • Arrange hospital to hospital transfer
  • Referral for home health
  • Referral to pediatric skilled nursing facility
  • Insurance authorization as needed for discharge
  • Referral to pediatric inpatient rehab
  • Via Primary Medical Team

Clinical Psychology (Consultation/Liaison Service)

  • Assessment of psychological functioning, coping & adjustment
  • Targeted interventions
  • Treatment plan development
  • Outpatient therapy services
  • Via Primary Medical Team

Customer Service

  • Billing questions / payment plans
  • (352) 265-0355

Dance/Movement Therapy

  • Available for Patients & Families
  • Expressive movement & creative arts
  • Art & body-based coping strategies
  • Via Primary Medical Team


  • Health insurance navigator
  • Free therapy night
  • Community support groups
  • Referral for free/low-cost medical care
  • Clothing & toiletry pantry
  • (352) 294-4880

Insurance Counseling

  • May be able to help compare / contrast available plans and discuss resulting benefit coverage
  • Admissions Desk; 1st Floor
    (352) 265-0236

Integrative Medicine

  • Integrative medicine assessment
  • Meditation / relaxation
  • Tai chi therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Via Primary Medical Team


  • Assessment of neurocognitive functioning (inpatient)
  • Comprehensive neuropsych evaluations (outpatient)
  • Via Primary Medical Team

Pediatric Guest Services

  • Bravery beads
  • In-kind donations
  • Hospital amenities
  • Kiosk in front of unit 4400
    (352) 594-5674


Ronald McDonald House of North Central Florida

Assists families with seriously ill children by providing temporary housing, basic amenities and psychosocial support during medical treatment.

Local hotels

Find a local hotel in Gainesville.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition or due to an employee’s serious health condition.

Social Security disability

SSI makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, or blind, or disabled. Your child, if younger than age 18, can qualify if he or she has a physical or mental condition, or combination of conditions, that meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits.

Ground transportation

Medicaid Transportation: patients covered under a Florida Medicaid plan have access to transportation assistance services to assure Medicaid recipients can regularly access medical care.

  • You must call at least 48 hours before the appointment to schedule transportation
  • Things you need to know before calling:
    • Medicaid Member ID
    • Name, DOB, home/pickup address, name of any passengers
    • Appointment time and date
    • Address of appointment: Shands Hospital – 1600 SW Archer Rd. Gainesville, FL 32610

Once you have the above information, call your assigned Medicaid provider listed below and request to arrange transportation to your medical appointment:

  • Sunshine State: (877-659-8421)
  • United Healthcare: (866-726-1457)
  • Humana Medicaid: (866-726-1457)
  • Wellcare & Staywell: (866-591-4066)
  • Prestige: (855-381-3778)
  • CMS Ped-I-Care: (855-739-5986)
  • Molina: (866-528-0454)

Air travel

  • Air Care Alliance: Volunteer pilots fly to help others! Search their nationwide listing to find out more about the various kinds of flight assistance for medical travel available.
  • Air Charity Network: a charitable organization that provides access for people in need who are seeking free air transportation to specialized health care facilities. They serve all 50 states and the volunteer pilots utilize their own aircraft to provide free air transportation to medical facilities for citizens who are financially distressed or otherwise unable to travel on public transportation.
  • Angel Flights Southeast: provides a variety of services to the community, but mostly arranges free air transportation by private aircraft to distant medical facilities when commercial service is not available, impractical or simply not affordable.
  • CAIR Flight: a Tampa based organization that coordinates charitable air travel to those in need. The typical aircraft seats four people and are non-pressurized. Must be ambulatory. Can carry supplemental oxygen provided by our passenger, if required. Typically, there is room for one family member and limited weight soft-sided luggage.
  • Children’s Flight of Hope: For children with serious illnesses or injuries, treatment may be available. But sometimes it’s located too far away for them to access. Children’s Flight of Hope (CFOH) is changing that by providing air transportation for children to access specialized medical care.
  • Corporate Angel Network: Arranges free travel on corporate jets for cancer patients, bone marrow donors and bone marrow recipients. Must be able to walk up the steps of a corporate aircraft without assistance and be able to travel without use of oxygen, IV, or onboard medical assistance.
  • Grace on Wings: The nation’s only charity air ambulance. To be eligible, the patient must have a condition requiring medically-supervised transport for a distance of at least 150 miles.
  • Mercy Medical Flights: If you are in need of assistance in getting transportation to receive medical treatment, we can help. We provide assistance in the air with commercial airline tickets and volunteer pilots and on the ground with gas cards, bus and train tickets.
  • Miracle Flights: Patients under the age of 18 and up to 2 caregivers (or age 18+ with 1 caregiver); Flights are subject to household income guidelines; receive assistance as often as needed and available.
  • Vital Flights: Within Florida only; Vital Flight coordinates free air transportation for individuals seeking medical, compassionate, or humanitarian care.