Receiving a cancer diagnosis is stressful and the beginning of a difficult journey. While the focus is on healing from the physical effects of cancer, the disease also takes a toll on the patient’s emotional and mental health, and that of their loved ones.
Maureen A. Kahn, CEO, Blessing Health, helped to shape the leadership and provider teams serving patients of the Blessing Cancer Center, Quincy, IL. The Center’s staff is dedicated to bringing the residents of the region the highest level of care coupled with an exceptional patient experience, without having to travel out of the region. This is demonstrated by the fact the Center holds accreditation from two prestigious national organizations: the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the American College of Radiation Oncology.
Blessing Cancer Center providers offer patients a range of advanced treatment options. Those options include infusion, during which medications, fluids, or blood products are delivered directly into the bloodstream through a vein (intravenously, or IV).
Blessing Health offers infusion therapy to cancer patients in its Medical Oncology suite within the Blessing Cancer Center, in addition to its Outpatient Infusion Center which is open for extended hours and on weekends for all patients. Its specially trained nurses provide patients with the fluids, blood products or medications that they need while they relax in comfortable recliners.
Elements of Blessing Health’s comprehensive infusion program include:
- Top cancer specialists: The doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses providing care are oncology specialists. They have the expertise, skill, training and dedication to provide patients with exceptional care.
- Chemotherapy: If medications are part of a patient’s cancer treatment plan, they may receive their medications through infusion.
- Blood products: Certain treatments and conditions can lower patients’ red blood cell or platelet levels. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the rest of the body. Platelets help the blood clot properly. Patients may need a blood or platelet transfusion to keep these cell counts at normal levels.
- Antibiotics: Blessing Health can infuse systemic antibiotics to help patients fight off infection.
- Fluids: Cancer treatment can cause dehydration. In those cases, patients receive fluids with solutions that include the right balance of electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals, such as sodium and potassium, that help keep patients hydrated and maintain normal blood pressure.
Let’s read further to draw a clear understanding of infusion treatment at Blessing Health.
Striving for the Best Care Experience
Blessing provides patients with the highest level of care in a comfortable and pleasant environment. Blood transfusions can take up to 6 or 8 hours, while some antibiotic infusions may take as little as 30 minutes. For whatever length of time patients are receiving care, Blessing providers work to make the experience a positive one.
At Blessing, infusion patients find the following:
- Comfort, attention, and care: The Blessing Cancer Center has individual bays, each equipped with a heated recliner. Each recliner has an integrated TV. If they prefer, patients can listen to music or read a book. Curtains around the bay can be drawn for more privacy or left open.
- Dedicated staff: Blessing’s nurses have specialized training in delivering infusion therapies and making the treatment as painless as possible. They keep patients informed about their treatment and answer any questions they may have. Blessing holds national Magnet recognition, the nation’s highest award for nursing excellence.
- Daily appointment availability: The Center’s staff understands the importance of patients receiving fluids and medications whenever they are needed. Patient convenience is a goal at Blessing Health, with infusion appointments available seven days a week.
Exploring Best Treatment Options
Every tumor is different and responds to different treatments. The Center offers a full range of cancer treatments including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. It partners with other healthcare organizations to offer participation in clinical trials of new or innovative therapies. Blessing Health oncologists discuss with patients all treatment options that can meet their needs, and work as a team to select the treatment that will be used.
Designing a Health System that Meets Patients’ Needs
Having to travel a long distance to receive healthcare is a burden no patient or loved one wants. Blessing Health is committed to providing the high-quality care options and outstanding experience that all but eliminates a patient’s need to travel hundreds of miles. Following are the elements of that commitment:
- Comprehensiveness: Blessing offers care across a range of specialties, from a heart and vascular center and a dedicated breast center to expert care for cancer, diabetes, orthopaedics and many other conditions.
- Keeping the focus on the patient: Blessing Health is a regional leader in patient and family centered care. This is evident in its clinical processes and protocols, and the ways in which it partners with patients in their care. Inpatients are involved with and know their caregivers as a result of bedside report at shift change. Outpatients experiencing financial hardships can receive gas cards to ensure they can make it to treatments and follow-up appointments.
- Community-focused access to care: Blessing wants to make sure its care is available to everyone in the region. That includes investing strongly in Illini Community Hospital, a critical access hospital serving the Brown, Pike and Scott County regions in west central Illinois, and having specialists see patients on a regular basis in its rural health clinics throughout west central Illinois, northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa, reducing the need for patient travel. Blessing also offers community wellness initiatives, aimed at helping people reduce their risk factors for certain diseases.
- Forward-thinking: Blessing continues to respond to the changing healthcare needs of the region’s residents by keeping pace with technology. Through virtual health, Blessing provides services that allow people to see specialists without travelling. These virtual services are convenient, accessible and vital to its mission of improving the health of the communities Blessing serves.
- Mission-driven: Helping people stay healthy requires community involvement and support. The Blessing Foundation was started in 1983. This charitable foundation can help people with a medical need but facing financial challenges access medical equipment and medications needed as part of their treatment. The Foundation also provides support to Blessing Health services that are vital to the region’s well-being, but cannot financially support themselves, including hospice and home care. When people donate to the Blessing Foundation, 100% of their money goes directly to the fund that they have earmarked.
- Transparency: Blessing Health is a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare provider committed to price transparency. It works with patients and families to understand their financial obligations and the resources available to them to help meet those obligations.
- Being the Employer of Choice: Blessing understands the correlation between meeting the needs of its employees and meeting the needs of its patients. It is dedicated to offering its employees a variety of benefits and insurance coverages to fit the professional and personal lifestyles of its employees and their eligible dependents.
- Making healthcare more convenient: Blessing Health makes managing health easier through the Blessing Resource Center. The Blessing Resource Center provides a personalized, concierge-like service targeted to help consumers navigate their health in one place or with one phone call.
Community Health—a Priority
BLESSING HEALTH’S MISSION
To improve the health of our communities.
Blessing Health will be exceptional:
- In providing a safe, high-quality healthcare experience;
- In being the best place for providers to practice;
- In being a place where employees want to work and students want to learn; and
- In partnering with our communities.
Integrity: Be honest and trustworthy.
Compassion: Be empathetic to the needs, concerns and suffering of others.
Accountability: Take ownership and foster an environment of ownership.
Respect: Value others’ feelings, wishes, rights, identities, traditions and beliefs.
Excellence: Strive for exceptional performance in work, care, quality, safety, service and finance.
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