No one wants to have to receive chemotherapy treatments.
But patients at the new JPS Health Network Oncology and Infusion Center said on its opening day they’re excited the improved facilities will make getting care a whole lot easier and more comfortable.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about the old place,” said patient Nickey Lewis, who is nearly half-way through a nine-week stretch of coming to JPS four times a week for chemotherapy. “But the new place is a whole lot better. A whole lot better. It’s so much bigger. At the old place, you couldn’t really even talk on the phone if you had a call because everyone was so close together. You didn’t have any privacy at all. Here, it’s just much more comfortable.”
Dr. Bassam Ghabach, Medical Director at the Oncology and Infusion Center said at 51,170 square feet, the new location at 1450 8th Avenue in Fort Worth is about twice as big as the previous cancer center. He added that the infusion area in the new location has double the 16 chairs of the previous building where they were all in one long, narrow room. In the new space, the stations are more spread out, divided into eight-chair pods.
Patient Patrick Brooks said it can’t be overstated how much of a difference the changes make for patients and their families. When the infusion room at the old building was full of patients, family members couldn’t come in to sit with patients to offer emotional support and help pass the time, he said. There just wasn’t enough room.
“The old infusion room was like going into a cave,” Brooks said. “I remember an old show seemed like it was always on the television in there. I hated that show. It seems like a silly, little thing. But when you have to sit there for hours at a time and there’s nothing to distract you… well, it’s just hard.”
The new infusion chairs look more like something you’d see in your living room or a high end movie theater than what you’d expect in a medical office. Complete with remote controls that allow the seat back to recline and the footrest to lift at the touch of a button, the loungers come with a tablet-sized television mounted on a swivel. It’s hooked up to cable programming, so patients can choose what they like instead of everyone in the room having to watch the same thing. When Brooks walked into the infusion room for the first time, that television screen was the first thing he wanted to see. He excitedly scrolled through the menu of channels, happy he had something to help take his mind off the task at hand and make the hours go quicker.
Ghabach said, while ambiance is important in keeping patients’ spirits up, there is a lot more than to the new building than entertainment. He said the extra space allows all sorts of support services cancer patients need to be housed in one place, cutting down on the need for people to make as many visits as they had to in the past.
“Everything that we need to make the patients’ journey easier will be under one roof,” Ghabach said, noting that people will be able to schedule anywhere from one to eight appointments in one visit as opposed to having to make multiple trips back and forth. “The things we are going to be able to do in this building will be amazing.”
Physician services available at the new JPS Oncology and Infusion Center:
Medical and Radiation Oncology, Primary Care including a Survivorship clinic and acute care, Palliative Care, Surgery, Breast Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neuro and Orthopedic Oncology, MORS Clinic, Pain Management
Patient support services available at the JPS Oncology and Infusion Center:
Social Work, Nutrition, Genetic Counseling, Enrollment and Eligibility, Patient Assistance Program, American Cancer Society, Psychologist, Spanish Interpreter, Patient Navigators, Financial Advisors
Ghabach said specialists will be stationed in the building on a rotation. In all, there will be 70-80 team members in the house.
Lewis said, while she loves the new building, the feature she loves about it best is a holdover from the previous JPS cancer center.
“I love the new place, but I’m glad they have the same people from the old building,” Lewis said, admitting she was so excited about the change in location that she drove by the day before her appointment to scout out the new building. “The people who work here are the best part. If they stayed at the old place, I would have kept going there.”