EAST CHICAGO, IN – Community Healthcare System has opened a new Cancer and Infusion Center at St. Catherine Hospital that is set to be a game changer for Northwest Indiana residents. The facility offers high-quality supportive care to area patients that is on par with metropolitan academic medical centers.
The Cancer and Infusion Center is located in a 6,100-square-foot wing of the hospital that connects to a precision radiotherapy system called CyberKnife®. Introduced as the first site of the technology in Indiana in 2005, CyberKnife brings solutions to patients with cancer whose tumors cannot be removed surgically or otherwise treated effectively. Other advanced features of the center include private exam rooms, a central nursing station for care customized to a patient’s individual needs, a nourishment counter and eight infusion therapy suites with plenty of natural light.
“Our goal is to change the face of cancer care by making it as convenient as possible for patients living in East Chicago and nearby communities to receive advanced supportive healthcare right here, at home,” said Leo Correa, St. Catherine Hospital CEO.
“Our center and team of cancer specialists are part of the Community Healthcare System which is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer,” Correa added. “We know patients’ needs can be complex. Having a support team in place to manage those needs with nurse navigators and multidisciplinary conferences that apply a team approach to patient care and access to cancer-related clinical trials is very important.”
The center was formally blessed on Wednesday, March 4, by Deacon Michael Halas during an open house for hospital staff and a visit by the Most Reverend Bishop Robert J. McClory.
“We want to make every patient’s experience seamless with the least amount of interruptions and stress to their lives as possible,” said Marie Duval Macke, System Line Administrator, Oncology and Cancer Care, Community Healthcare System. “This means patients can have their treatment plans near their home, with less travel time and more opportunities to work or spend time with their family and friends.”
Each therapy room is equipped with a comfortable recliner, TV, space for personal computer work and room for visitors. Suites offer views onto a Healing Garden that will take shape in the spring. Education and cancer support group activities will be intertwined into the cancer patient’s journey.
“Our goal is to care for the whole patient,” Macke said. “When you are able to support the entire individual including their physical, psychological and social needs, they are more likely to have a better experience and better manage their stressors.”
The Cancer and Infusion Center has a dedicated oncologist/hematologist and also works with a team in coordination with the patient’s primary care physician and referring oncologist.
“Supportive care can, in many ways, be as important to a patient’s journey as the prescribed treatment plans,” Macke explained. “Cancer patients are at their most vulnerable state and often overwhelmed with decision-making, understanding their diagnosis and treatment course. They face a multitude of social, psychosocial and economic challenges”
Cancer and Infusion Center charge nurse Katie Cruz said patients have been very receptive to the center.
“They appreciate their private spacious suites where they can relax, watch TV and visit during treatment that can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours,” she said.
In addition to chemotherapy and immunotherapy, patients can be referred to the center for antibiotics, blood products, central line care, dressing changes, hydration, IV medication, injections and other treatments. The team of registered nurses, certified in chemotherapy administration, have additional knowledge and training in the treatment of Crohn’s disease; genetic pulmonary, kidney and liver disorders; multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and sickle cell disease.
To learn more about the center or cancer care at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, call 219-392-7329 or visit COMHS.org/cancer.