Loma Linda University Medical Center on March 20 opened a new Women’s Cancer and Surgical Oncology Center in a unique setting that brings gynecology and surgical oncologists together with medical and radiation oncologists all under one roof.
Believing that coordination and communication are central to good health outcomes, Loma Linda University Medical Center on March 20 opened a new Women’s Cancer and Surgical Oncology Center in a unique setting that brings gynecology and surgical oncologists together with medical and radiation oncologists all under one roof.
“Bringing everyone together – both physically and figuratively – helps ensure comprehensive, seamless care for the patient,” said Director Mark Reeves, M.D.
“We’ve designed the center to encourage coordination and communication among all participants in a patient’s treatment – including physicians, nurses, therapists, surgeons, counselors, and the patients and their families themselves. The center also continues Loma Linda’s strong, historical commitment to medical research and assures patients have access to the latest advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.”
Under this design, each patient’s individualized treatment plan is based on the collective input of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and an entire team of specialists. And, it takes into account not only the patient’s diagnosis but also his or her values and life circumstances.
Helping implement this treatment plan is a team of specially trained nurse navigators who help guide the patient through the continuum of care and provide patients the support and education they need to prepare for surgery and ongoing monitoring. The center also encourages the involvement of families throughout the course of treatment, including during clinical as well as educational visits.
“We also place high value in the non-medical dimensions of care,” said Dr. Reeves. “As a result, our center focuses on treating the whole person through support groups, exercise programs, access/referral to social work, dieticians, psychological services, spiritual support and other long-term needs of each patient.”
To help patients better understand their diagnosis, the center includes a user-friendly cancer resource center (supported by a cancer resource coordinator) that provides the latest information from the American Cancer Society and other well-respected sources. In addition, a cancer-help kiosk, linked directly to the National Cancer Institute’s database, allows patients and their families’ easy access to comprehensive cancer information, including treatment options, potential side effects, medications and supportive care.
This section of the new center was made possible by Stater Bros. Charities and the Inland Women Fighting Cancer. Through their efforts, the new Resource Center will help provide patients and others in the region with a place to receive nutritional, spiritual, and psychological and appearance support as well as other informational resources to better help them understand and manage cancer.
“By locating this resource center within the clinic itself, patients can take advantage of this learning opportunity while waiting to see their physician,” says Center Executive Director Judy Chatigny. “We also offer an electronic patient portal that allows patients to make their own physician appointments at a time convenient for them, provides patients access to their medical records, and allows patients to email questions directly to their physician.”
Also unique to the center is its comforting environment, which brings “nature indoors” through the use of soothing color palette, artwork focused on nature and using natural elements, fabrics and furnishings selected to be more “hospitable” and less hospital, wood flooring to minimize noise, private rooms, and carefully placed furniture and computer screens to ensure privacy.
Adjacent to the medical and surgical centers is Loma Linda University Cancer Center’s Proton Treatment and Research Center, the first hospital-based proton therapy center in the world. Established in 1990, today the center uses proven-effective proton beam technology for many types of cancers, and has treated more patients than any other proton treatment center in the world.