MultiCare opens new regional cancer center

MultiCare Health System opened Tacoma’s first comprehensive Cancer Care Center today in the new Milgard Pavilion at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital.

The new MultiCare Regional Cancer Center brings together in one building all aspects of care, offering easy access for patients needing treatment. They will find the latest treatment technology, compassionate, supportive care givers and an array of support services all in a soothing environment.

“We want our patients to focus their time on healing, and this new Center is the physical embodiment of the kind of care we want to provide,” said Dr. John Rieke, Cancer Center Medical Director. “We have the best technology in the Puget Sound, world class imaging and a comforting physical space.”

The new Center combines modern touches such as hardwood floors, granite countertops and big-screen televisions with state-of-the-art technology and trained health care providers in an intimate setting with beautiful views of Tacoma. The 35,000-square-foot center is nearly three times the size of the previous Cancer Center at Tacoma General.

New services include complementary care services such as massage, yoga, rehabilitation services, gentle exercise and art therapy. Providing all the needed treatment options and support services in one location means patients won’t have to travel around the Puget Sound area to get what they need. All of their care components can be coordinated across the entire care team.

“We want to help people get through the journey,” said David Nicewonger, Administrator of the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center. “We have created a supportive structure beyond providing medical care. With this new center, we are giving patients and their families the best overall treatment options in our region combined with the convenience of a comprehensive care team and individualized care close to home.”

The Regional Cancer Center also will offer support services to help see patients through their cancer treatment including wig fitting and makeup consultation, rehabilitation and nutrition consultation.
The Cancer Center staff also recently committed to a new promise to the community: Patients will be able to get an initial consultation for a cancer diagnosis with an oncologist within 2 business days of the request. The health providers at the Center recognize that the period of waiting between a diagnosis and creating a care plan is stressful and want to respond quickly.

The Center offers:

— Capacity for 40 semi-private and private infusion chairs set up in pods of six that will accommodate individual preferences for social interaction or privacy. 33 chairs for chemotherapy – nearly double the current 18 chairs at Tacoma General. Each chair has a personal entertainment system with television, radio and Internet access. And many of the treatment rooms have sweeping views of the Tacoma skyline and Mount Rainier;

— An expanded radiation oncology center equipped with an image-guided linear accelerator and other state-of-the-art technologies including a CyberKnife robotic linear accelerator to be installed by summer 2010. The ceiling above the linear accelerator is decorated with glass art providing a soothing experience during treatments;

— Big-screen TVs in each care room so health care providers and patients can view diagnostic results, treatment options and educational material in an easy-to-see way;

— The Katterhagen Resource and Education Center, a wired conference room where patients and families will find a wide range of resources for selfeducation as well as classes on a variety of topics, support groups and gentle exercise and movement programs. Teleconferencing capabilities will allow individuals to participate in many classes from other MultiCare facilities or from the comfort of their homes;

— Research staff offices within the clinic to assist patients in understanding their care options including access to clinical trials. An affiliation relationship with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance provides access to their trials and expertise without the drive to Seattle;

— A navigation team of nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, nutritionists, pharmacists and patient representatives who are there to support the patient and family through their journey and help smooth the waters along the way.

The MultiCare Regional Cancer Center offers care in multiple locations including Auburn MultiCare Clinic, Covington MultiCare Clinic and MultiCare Gig Harbor Medical Park.