St. Elizabeth Healthcare is set to open its new cancer center in the coming month
In October, St. Elizabeth Healthcare will finally open the project it’s had under construction for the last two years—the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center.
“We have this beautiful center that is going to help us define a new level of cancer care in our community,” says Dr. Doug Flora, executive medical director of the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center. “This particular cancer center is going to be built from the ground up with patient needs.”
And this is a center that is needed in the region. According to statistics collected by St. Elizabeth, the state of Kentucky has the highest rates of lung cancer incidence and death, colorectal cancer incidence, overall cancer death and overall cancer incidence in the country.
With this new center, the community will have access to personalized cancer care, cutting-edge technology and education opportunities, as well as screening and prevention. One of St. Elizabeth’s goals with the center is to provide cancer patients with one location that meets all of their care needs.
“I’m very excited about the new cancer center,” says Rose Mulberry, advanced practice registered nurse at St. Elizabeth. “I think that it is going to be an innovative place where patients can find everything in one place, where things aren’t piecemeal to this physician and then that physician and then you have to go to this building or that building. They’ll be able to go to one place to get all their cancer care.”
When the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center opens, it will be home to St. Elizabeth’s breast health, thoracic surgery, gynecologic oncology, radiation oncology and precision medicine departments. But while there, patients can also meet with their nurse navigators, who can guide patients through their care and offer needed support; receive their chemotherapy and infusion treatments in Infusion Services; shop in the boutique, for products, support and gifts specifically designed with cancer patients in mind; and visit the doTERRA Center for Integrative Oncology, which may be one of the most innovative ideas included in the center.
“The entire first floor is going to be dedicated to softer touches—art therapy for cancer patients, music therapy rooms, yoga and Tai chi, massage therapy, aroma touch, aromatherapy. To really provide world-class care you have to care for the whole patient and not just the tumor,” says Flora.
The doTERRA Center for Integrative Oncology is designed to complement the patient’s medical care by addressing the side effects of treatment—physically, mentally and spiritually—and providing education. For example, the center includes a demonstration kitchen, where patients can take cooking classes and learn meal-planning tips, as nutrition can be a vital factor before, during and after treatment.
Other areas in Integrative Oncology include an art therapy studio, meditation room and a space for mind-body therapies.
St. Elizabeth sees this center as an extension of its community-focused spirit.
“I think St. Elizabeth truly does have the patient at the center of medical care,” says Dr. Michael Gieske, a primary care physician with St. Elizabeth. “It has a little bit of a small-town, small-community feel but yet it’s a very advanced, very technologically oriented hospital. We’ve been trendsetters in many areas.”
That advanced, technologically oriented focus is also being used to improve the patient experience at the cancer center with the introduction of a real-time location system (RTLS). Upon entering the cancer center, patients will receive a locator that allows St. Elizabeth to see where they are while in the center. This will help St. Elizabeth keep patients’ experience running smoothly by providing patient status during appointments and coordinating labs and medication to decrease unnecessary wait times.
And while the construction on the cancer center was started in Summer 2018, long before COVID-19, the new facility will have many advanced features that will help slow the spread of germs and viruses like the coronavirus. These features include a motion-activated, touch-free revolving door entry way to the building; terrazzo flooring, which is easier to clean and sanitize than other floor surfaces; barrier-free entries to bathrooms and auto-flush toilets; UVC systems (which emit ultraviolet light) in specific areas that are capable of killing viruses; and localized cough stations throughout the center that provide visitors with masks, hand sanitizer and tissues.
St. Elizabeth believes that the new cancer center, with its centralized care and advanced technology, will provide a new standard of care for many cancer patients in the region.
“I’m excited for patients to be able to have some of the latest, greatest technology right at their fingertips in their own community. I think it will give them kind of like a one-stop shop and then all of their physicians will be there to help support them,” says Dr. Lauren Castellini, a radiation oncologist at St. Elizabeth.
Breast Cancer Care
The new St. Elizabeth Cancer Center is opening this October, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The new cancer center includes medical care for breast health, including diagnostic services and nurse navigators. The doTERRA Center for Integrative Oncology also includes many complementary services designed to assist breast cancer patients. According to St. Elizabeth, 50% of cancer patients report using some sort of complimentary care, and that percentage rises to 80% for women with breast cancer.
The new St. Elizabeth Cancer Center will offer personalized cancer care, leveraging precision medicine and genomic health; education screening and prevention; clinical research; and advanced, innovative technology.