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Support Services

NWMS offers a variety of support services to help patients and their care team through the difficult journey of cancer and recovery. We offer empowering resources such as:

Cancer Support Groups

Cancer support groups offer invaluable resources in dealing with the physical challenges of cancer as well as the emotional impact of the disease. Family members and caretakers can also benefit from the relief and friendship these groups provide.

A good support group welcomes each person and allows them room to take part or just listen. The leader sets a tone of acceptance, gives equal opportunity to participate, keeps focus on the group’s purpose and guards against any harmful interaction.

Groups should give the attendees a chance to be open and honest in their expression and find like-minded individuals in similar situations who can help you with their journey. If you don’t fit with the first group you try, be sure to try another.

Social Work Services

Our NWMS social workers are licensed mental health professionals that are available to meet with patients, families and loved-ones, to help navigate through the challenges brought on by illness and treatment. Social workers can help with:

  • Adjusting to illness and role changes
  • Loss and grief
  • Survivorship
  • Care planning and decision making
  • Supportive counseling and support programs

Caitlyn Graves, MSW, LSWA-IC

“My name is Caitlyn Graves and I am a social worker at Northwest Medical Specialties. I work at our Tacoma, Federal Way, and Gig Harbor Clinics. Not only do I get to serve our patients and their families, I am apart of some of our awesome committees like CPAN, Compassionate Care Committee, and Cancer Support Community.

Through my job and our committees I am able to advocate for and help the amazing and strong patients we serve. I get to support patients and their families through times of hardship and hopefully ease some of their journey along the way. It is truly an amazing opportunity to serve this community.”


Abra Kelson, LICSW, OSW-C

“My name is Abra Kelson, I am a social worker and social work supervisor at NWMS working out of the Puyallup and Bonney Lake clinics. I am also a leader of the NWMS’ advocacy chapter CPAN and work as the program director for NWMS’ Cancer Support Community, organizing supportive programs for anyone affected by cancer in the community.

I love being a social worker at NWMS because I have the incredible opportunity to work with people who are often facing the most challenging time in their life, but what also can be the most real and meaningful. I truly consider it an honor to bare witness to all of these experiences and walk along side patients and their families offering support and assistance throughout their journey.”


Patient Navigators

Patient Navigators are available to provide personal guidance to you and your family as you move through the health care system. By maintaining communication with patients, families and health care providers; Patient Navigators monitor patient satisfaction throughout your care experience. Services provided by a Patient Navigator can include:

  • Coordinate appointments
  • Assist with locating and scheduling transportation
  • Identify needs and locate resources

Katie Bess

“My name is Katie Bess and I am a Patient Navigator at Northwest Medical Specialties; serving our west side clinics in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Federal Way. In this role I have the opportunity to assist navigating patients throughout their oncology journey, connect patients with community resources, ensure patient appointments are coordinated, and work alongside our social workers and financial counselors to provide enhanced and well-rounded support.

I am also a member of the Cancer Support Community and the CPAN committee, helping our patients stay connected and their voices to be heard. It is an honor to be a part of the NWMS team, where we continuously strive to provide exemplary care to the community around us.”

Donna Hempel

Donna Hempel

“My Name is Donna Hempel, Patient Navigator at the Puyallup and Bonney Lake Clinics.  I am also a key member of COA Patient Advocacy Network, Cancer Support Community, and Compassion Care Committee.

I love my job, I am so blessed  to be able to touch each patient by making a difference in their journey by knocking down barriers and giving them an extra layer of support.  The best part of my job is making patients smile during a difficult time in the life.”


Call us at (253) 428-8700