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(L-R) Darolyn Walker, Cancer Patient Navigator; Shirley Hubbard, Volunteer; The Hon. Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health; Joyce d'Entremont, Director of Nursing; and Cathy Blades, VP, Clinical Care, South West Health

Rooms with a view -- and so much more

Seven years after planning first began for a cancer centre in Yarmouth, those plans have become reality. The South West Health Cancer Centre is now officially open.
“It’s beautiful,” says Michel d’Entremont, a resident of Middle West Pubnico, who had low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “It’s well designed and spacious – and the view is beautiful.”

The spectacular view reflects the thoughtfulness and care that has gone into creating the cancer centre, says Pamela Robichaud, SWH Cancer Program Manager. “You have a view of Yarmouth Harbour, and you can see the ferry come and go. It’s real quality – quality you can’t measure.”

“There is an emotional comfort,” she adds, “to being treated at home in a place that makes you feel valued.”

The new Centre, which occupies a full wing in one of South West Health’s three buildings, features the Harmony Room, a special place for patients undergoing complementary therapies, a Resource Room and the Patient Navigator’s office as well as exam space and treatment facilities. “We went from having two small examining rooms to four fully functioning exam rooms with integrated diagnostic equipment,” says Pamela.

“We now have the physical space to do the work we need to do – and it is so much better for patients,” she stresses.” It’s one place for them to come and receive the treatment, information and support they need.”

The opening of the Centre will go a long way to reducing the financial, physical and emotional burden for cancer patients in the area and their families, says Mary Ella d’Entremont, Michel’s wife.  “When you’re not feeling well and have to drive to Halifax, it can be overwhelming.”

Mary Ella knows precisely how demanding that travel can be. For the past 11 years, she has kept a log of almost all the cancer-related trips she and her husband made to Halifax and Yarmouth – 86,780 kilometres. The journey will be much shorter for many patients and their families now – and the new cancer centre will be more welcoming and comfortable. Mary Ella notes that in the previous space there was barely enough room in the chemotherapy area to accommodate patients and nurses. There was no room for family members.

All that has changed – and so much more. “By bringing all the services into one area, it will help increase utilization and enhance patient care,” says Pamela.
One way patient care will be enhanced is by improving opportunities for health professionals, which the new Centre provides. The close proximity of the rooms means they don’t have to cart heavy charts and equipment long distances. Best of all, is the ability to attend educational sessions right in the workplace.
“It means being able to work to the fullest scope of practice in a space that supports multidisciplinary care. We were limited before,” says Pamela. “Now it’s a new day.”


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