“Everything about this building has had input from and been impacted by our patient advisory counsel,” said Garrison, who noted the second and third floors will remain shelled-out after the center opens to allow for future expansion. “They not only helped us with the finishes, design and layout, but also with the programs and services offered there.”
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Garrison said the cafe was a major priority for the advisory counsel, many of whom said their biggest complaint about cancer treatment was that the treatments could cause different kinds of problems that may make it hard to eat or drink.
“The cafe is really, really special to us because it offers foods that are specifically designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of cancer patients,” she said. “You gotta have fuel to fight.”
The center will also feature a spa-like boutique that sells wigs and other post-surgical apparel as well as prosthetic and other products for cancer patients. It will also offer a wide range of services, including medical massage, complimentary holistic medicines, radiation treatment, imaging, clinical trials and a specialty pharmacy for hard-to-find cancer drugs.
“People will be able to walk out of the pharmacy with the drugs they need for their cancer treatment instead of trying to find a pharmacy,” Garrison said. “Not all pharmacies carry some of these oral chemotherapy drugs that we’re trying to offer to patients so they don’t have to come in for those long four- and six-hour infusions.”
Those patients who do come in for treatment will find a sanctuary of tranquility as they receive their treatments in heated massage chairs in 46 private and semi-private rooms, most of which have panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling windows encompassing the entire building, Garrison said.
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The private rooms are designed for patients dealing with the often severe side-effects of chemotherapy, such as vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea, who can opt to receive their treatment alone in a single room for greater comfort, convenience, and privacy.
“If they’re having a good day, some people may want to sit in their chair, slide back the partition and talk to the person sitting in the bay next to them,” Garrison said. “For others, they just want it to be over.”