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HAMC Cancer care suite complete

By Staff | Oct 20, 2017

Hospital staff and community members cut the ribbon signifying the completion of construction of the Heart of America Medical Center's new cancer care suite. The ribbon cutting was held last Thursday evening.

A ribbon cutting was held last Thursday evening to commemorate the completion and opening of a new cancer treatment suite at the Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby.

Construction began between April and May of this year and was completed earlier this month. According to HAMC CEO Patrick Branco the cost of construction, which involved conversion of existing rooms onsite, was estimated to be $350,000, with the air handling system to be the greatest expense of the project. Funding for the addition came from U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation and HAMC fundraisers and donations.

Inside the suite are two chairs for patients receiving chemotherapy and/or infusion therapy. The infusion suite is on the ground floor of the hospital, near acute care, and is also equipped with massage chairs, soft lighting, televisions, tablets and WiFi to allow patients staying several hours for treatment to be comfortable.

Branco said the hospital had done chemotherapy treatments periodically in the past, but the treatment suite is a “brand new enterprise.” Branco said it is designed to do all types of chemotherapy locally and at quality and safety standards of larger, urban treatment facilities.

“That’s pretty remarkable for a small rural hospital to be at that level,” Branco said.

Branco said the distance a patient has to go to receive cancer treatment can be emotionally, physically and/or spiritually draining.

“If any or all of those are drained, it makes the healing process and the fight to battle cancer much more difficult,” said Branco. “And it’s a terrible fight. It requires strength of will and physical strength. Our goal is to make sure [patients] can heal and fight that battle and win that battle by having [treatment] here.”

The center is the result of an 18-month process. Branco said the push for the cancer treatment suite came when the hospital’s governing board saw that access to cancer care was the top response in a U.S. government-required community health needs assessment the hospital did. In April 2016, during a strategic planning meeting, the board said cancer treatment access should be a priority.

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