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Blessing Held for New Cancer Care Center at HSHS St. Francis Hospital

HSHS St. Francis Hospital held a blessing of its all new Cancer Care Center on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. Monsignor Kenneth Steffen, hospital chaplain, presided at the event. Joanne Van Leer, director of radiology and mission at the hospital assisted.
 “We are very happy to have cancer care as a part of the services at St. Francis,” said Aaron Puchbauer, interim president and CEO of HSHS St. Francis Hospital. “We anticipate the Cancer Care Center to open next month following state approval.”
“Cancer is a disease that affects many individuals within the hospital’s service area – it’s more than one thousand people in Montgomery County,” said E.J. Kuiper, president and CEO of the HSHS Central Illinois Division. “We know a cancer diagnosis affects both patients and their families. Patients who need treatments like chemotherapy have to travel more than 50 miles for care. That’s a long way to travel, especially when you don’t feel well or you have to find someone to drive for you. We know our new Cancer Care Center will offer quality services right here in your community.  We hope this will give our patients one less thing to worry about while they are fighting this disease.”
“It is wonderful to see the new Cancer Care Center ready to be opened to serve our patients,” said Patti Fischer, oncology service line leader for the HSHS Central Illinois Division. Fischer also served as president and CEO of St. Francis Hospital for the last two years; she became the COO of HSHS St. John’s.  “From the very early planning stages of the program, many people expressed their gratitude to me when they heard that the hospital was working to bring these services to Litchfield. Our Central Illinois Division hospitals – which are HSHS St. Mary’s in Decatur, HSHS St. John’s in Springfield and St. Francis – will continue to work together to provide quality cancer care treatment to the patients we serve.  Through this collaboration, our medical oncologist will work closely with specialists at St. John’s Hospital and services at St. Francis will include chemotherapy treatments, blood transfusions and medication injections. We will offer patient and family support services such as dietary and exercise education, spiritual care and support group referrals. It’s great to offer these needed services close to home.”
HSHS would like to recognize all the individuals and businesses that have made generous gifts in support of this program. “Please know that through your support this Cancer Care Center became a reality,” said Fischer.  The Montgomery County Cancer Association (MCCA) recently donated $10,000 toward the new Cancer Care Center.
The Cancer Care Center will accommodate up to 16 patients daily, and is an addition to the existing outpatient medical oncology clinic at St. Francis. The area includes a private physician’s office, nurse’s desk, welcome desk, family waiting area, two private patient exam rooms, two private infusion rooms and four semiprivate infusion bays.  Patients will have comfortable reclining chairs and individual television monitors for use during treatment. USB and charging ports are in each patient bay for laptops, phones, and tablet use. The infusion area of the cancer center offers space for patients, as well as their guests or caregivers to keep them company. The décor of the center includes quotes etched in glass by St. Francis of Assisi who is the patron saint of the hospital. A special bell for patients to ring hangs near the exit door to signify the accomplishment of the individual’s final infusion treatment. One of St. Francis’ inspiring quotes, “Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” is next to the bell.
A public open house will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 3-6 p.m.

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