May 1, 2009

Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic moving to new space

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The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic is slated to move to renovated space in The Vanderbilt Clinic May 4. In the planning stages for more than two years, the clinic will house 23 treatment rooms and 45 treatment chairs. (Photo by Susan Urmy)

Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic moving to new space

The wait is almost over for cancer patients needing expanded access to chemotherapy services at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The VICC Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic is slated to move to renovated space in The Vanderbilt Clinic May 4. The new Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic will occupy the space that previously housed the second-floor Henry-Joyce Cancer Clinic.

The new clinic has been in the planning and development stage for more than two years. Several committees evaluated a multitude of design issues, such as colors, furniture and other aesthetic and functional features. The committees were comprised of patients, caregivers, staff and administrators.

The first priority was more space, including nearly twice the number of chemotherapy chairs. 

“Demand for chemotherapy services is so intense that, in addition to our existing 23 treatment rooms, a couple of months ago we had to put up curtains in our waiting room to create three additional treatment bays,” said Leah Atwell, manager of Patient Care Services for VICC.  “This is not an optimal situation for our patients and we are thankful that they have been so gracious and understanding while we have been building the new clinic.”

The new clinic will include 45 treatment chairs, all located in individual rooms instead of the cramped areas with privacy curtains in the current clinic. Thirty of the rooms will be operational immediately and other rooms will be opened as demand increases. The additional patient rooms will shorten the length of time patients wait before being placed in a room.

The staff and patients spent months trying to decide what kind of chemotherapy chairs to order, since patients can spend hours sitting while they receive their chemotherapy medications. The new chairs are more comfortable and user-friendly.

Each room features a flat screen TV with built-in DVD player and rooms have a glass feature over the doorway that has natural grass imposed into the glass. The new waiting area is larger and there is a family break/vending room where families and patients can relax and eat. There also is a full wig fitting room and an area for volunteers to work with patients and their families.

Best of all, the whole space is brighter and more welcoming.

“A majority of the patient rooms, as well as the waiting area, will have windows that offer natural lighting and some even provide a picturesque view,” said Atwell. “We know that natural light makes patients and visitors feel better and it was important that the new space be bright and cheerful.”

Staff members also will benefit from the design of the new facility. Updated equipment and larger spaces will allow the staff to be more efficient in providing care to patients. That includes staff members in the Oncology Pharmacy, which will be moving into the new space.

The new chemotherapy clinic is being financed through University funding and the support of VICC donors.