A large crowd was on hand last month for an open house and ribbon cutting for the Allen Cancer Center at Nanticoke. The center, which was redesigned to provide a comfortable place for patients to receive treatment, was named in honor of Barbara and Chick Allen who donated $1.1 million to complete the capital campaign.
“I could not be more proud of this beautiful space that will provide hope, healing, and comfort for years to come,” Nanticoke Health Services chairman of the board David Crouse said.
“What makes this even more of a great facility, it’s not the mortar and the glass, it’s the people that work here. The nurses are so kind, so compassionate,” said Barbara Allen, who received treatment at the center and wanted to give back to the staff and the community.
Nanticoke Health Services treats over 5,000 cancer patients a year, averaging 40 patients a day. The need for life-saving cancer treatment for residents of Sussex County and surrounding areas who want to stay close to home continues to increase.
The Allen Cancer Center, accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, combines a loving environment with quality of care delivered by a team of compassionate experts. The center provides nearly 10,000 cancer treatments annually.
With the redesign, the center has expanded from eight to 14 infusion bays. The chairs are not as close together and patients can control their lighting and entertainment and can get up and get something to eat. There are two semi-private rooms as well as two private rooms that can accommodate stretchers. Each patient has an unobstructed view of the Nanticoke River from their chair. According to Nanticoke Health Services, studies have shown that patients with a connection nature have less depression and a higher level of hope.
The center now has an onsite pharmacy with the drugs delivered there and unpacked in a negative pressure room. In the past, prescriptions went through the hospital’s pharmacy and were transferred over to the cancer center. There will also be a dedicated pharmacist at the center, and blood work will be done there. As a result of these changes, patients at the center will be able to get IVs in a more timely manner.
Next to the negative pressure room is an ante room, where the staff can scrub and gown up before entering the room with the patients. There is also a staff lounge, which allows staff members to step away when they need a moment while still being close to the patients. This is something that Barbara Allen, who formed a relationship with her care team, wanted to see added.
There is also a larger library/meeting space which is also serving as a temporary boutique. Nanticoke is hoping to eventually move the boutique upstairs. The care coordinator’s office has been moved downstairs to the same level as where the patients are.
The main goal with the redesign was to create a comfortable place to support the patients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Cancer patients often talk about the importance of walking into a en environment that feels like home, is warm and caring, allows them to have a sense of control over their space, and projects a sense of calm and confidence. Plans for the redesigned infusion area included eliminating the clinic or office feel it once had.
Nanticoke Health Services had already started a three to five year campaign for the expansion when Allen was diagnosed with cancer and started receiving treatments there. The donation by the Allens completed the campaign, which a number of people contributed to.
“A lot of people in this room, a lot of people in this community donated time and money into this facility,” said Chick Allen. “We’re glad to do it for the benefit of the community. With a facility like this, hope is a little higher and success is a little closer.”