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Cancer Resource Center opens at Advocate Condell

Carol Dieball cancer exercise specialist (right) gives Alice Romie Libertyville tour treatment room. Advocate Condell Hospital Libertyville hosted an open

Carol Dieball, cancer exercise specialist (right), gives Alice Romie of Libertyville a tour of the treatment room. Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville hosted an open house of it's new Cancer Resource Center on Jan. 25th, 2014. | Jason Glosniak/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 29, 2014 3:37AM

Stepping into the new Cancer Institute Resource Center at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville is almost like entering a spa — upbeat spaces with rooms for nutritional education, yoga, spiritual cleansing and even boutique services.

But the goal is more than just relaxation, it’s wholistic patient wellness and support for their families.

Dozens of community members braved the cold and snow to get a look at the new 5,000-square-foot facility, which cost roughly $1 million to create, during a community open house on Sunday, Jan. 26.

The new Resource Center is strategically positioned just off the main entrance to the hospital, near the women’s center, the outpatient cancer infusion center and radiation therapy.

“This is set up to coordinate and co-locate all the services available to cancer patients,” Virginia Friesen, director of the Cancer Institute, said. “It’s meant to be a supportive environment to be sure that patients get all the support they need, from diagnosis to survivorship.”

A large neutral-colored lounge with comfortable seating for singles, pairs or small family groups is the entry point to the Resource Center.

Open 24-hours a day for inpatient family members who may need a break from the cancer unit, the Resource Center offers a variety of diversions, including chess games, books, puzzles, television and educational information on cancer.

A computer in the lounge links users to online resources available to patients based on their individual diagnosis.

“They can also use that computer to research any clinical trials they might be interested in — and then we would connect them with our clinical trials coordinator,” Friesen said.

The lounge connects to a circular hallway that houses separate rooms and a variety of services dotted along the way: lymphedema care, clinical trial expertise, exercise and support group activities, nutritional services, counseling on finances, genetics, spirituality and psychosocial needs, wig and prosthetic fitting, nurse navigators and a variety of cancer management and prevention resources.

A family conference room also is available to allow a physician or medical team to meet with an entire family to discuss the patient’s diagnosis, if desired.

The Cancer Resource Center’s circular arrangement made best use of the space available, but adds to the relaxed atmosphere.

“It eliminates the typical long hallways found in a hospital setting,” Friesen said.

Nancy Cipparrone, who is in charge of the clinical trials program, believes the new space will be a much-used resource for patients undergoing oncology treatments, as well as their families.

“It’s very calming,” Cipparrone said. “There are such a wide range of services here, I think it’s going to help patients from A to Z with their treatment.”

The one-stop-shopping approach to treatment is a move forward in cancer care.

“You have one place where you can go where you feel, ‘This is the place where I belong,’” Friesen said.

Reducing stress, providing support and helping people go through the continuum of care to optimize the best health outcomes — emotionally, physically, spiritually — was the goal, Friesen said.

Alice Romie, 45, of Libertyville is a cancer patient who has exercised to keep up her strength during and after her chemotherapy with Carol Dieball of Advocate Condell Medical Center’s Centre Club. The two toured the new facility together Sunday afternoon.

From room-to-room, service-to-service, Dieball pointed out what cancer patients will experience at the new facility.

“This is beautiful,” Romie said.

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