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Accelerating access to breakthrough cancer therapies leads Morristown Medical Center to expand infusion center

Carol G. Simon Cancer Center’s new Infusion Center design provides a safe environment for treatment, follows COVID-19 safety protocols; is supported by community donations

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Atlantic Health System today announced the ribbon cutting for Morristown Medical Center’s new state-of-the-art, patient-centered Infusion Center located in the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center.  The first of three phases of expansion of New Jersey’s pre-eminent cancer center, the new unit was funded in large part by donations made by community members in support of the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center’s Growing Forward Campaign.

The Infusion Center, which provides intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, immunotherapy and biotherapy, is a critical component of Atlantic Health System’s ability to provide patients with access to the most promising and life-saving treatments, clinical trials, and innovations in the communities where they live and work. When administered on an outpatient basis, infusions can last up to seven hours, during which time, safety and comfort are of greatest importance.  The new Infusion Center enables Atlantic Health System Cancer Care to offer more patients access to the latest, leading-edge cancer treatments in a caring and safe, state-of-the-art environment.

Between 2016 and 2019, Morristown Medical Center’s outpatient Infusion Center saw a 40% increase in patient volume. This increase is attributed to three significant advances to the Atlantic Health System cancer program: the recruitment of world renowned physician researchers; the launch of the nation’s first Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator (BOA), a pioneering research and clinical collaboration with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix, AZ; and the designation as the first New Jersey-based National Cancer Institute Oncology Research Program (NCORP).  These three milestones allowed the cancer center to expand its portfolio of multiple early- and late-phase clinical trials.

“Because of our loyal donor support, we were able to expedite the expansion and renovation of the Infusion Center at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, ensuring high-quality support of our patients, their families and our incredible, award-winning clinical teams,” Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, Morristown Medical Center president and Atlantic Health System vice president, said. “We are forever grateful to our community of donors for their tremendous generosity.”

While the Infusion Center is open to support patients, the fundraising to support the remainder of the renovation of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center continues; $6.1 million of the $6.5 million philanthropic goal has been reached.

The new space adds 12 infusion chairs, bringing the total to 36, which have been placed in a combination of open and private infusion bays, as some patients enjoy interaction, while others prefer a quiet meditative space. Natural light, soothing colors and reclining chairs are among the features that promote the most healing environment possible.

The physical space reinforces patient-centered care by assigning each patient a dedicated team to accompany them during diagnosis, as they’re being treated and, afterward, into survivorship. The team and related support services are centralized, making it easy for patients to receive all their care in a single location.

Lydia Nadeau, RN, MBA, executive director, and Eric Whitman, MD, medical director of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care met with health care professionals and patient advisory groups for advice in the design process. Recliners for patients, a comfortable chair for family members, iPads, blanket warmers and music, pet and art therapy were all strongly recommended and are reflected in the new design, promoting a healing experience.

“As a result of our outreach, meetings and tours of high-level infusion centers around the country, we have synthesized best practices to create a unique, patient-centered facility that sets a new standard in infusion center care,” stated Ms. Nadeau.

“We are excited to offer our cancer patients the most advanced clinical options and therapies in a technologically advanced and modern setting,” said Dr. Whitman.  “All COVID-19 safety protocols can be followed, and the layout of the new space helps ensure everyone’s comfort and safety.”

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care programs, services and offices are open to see patients in need of care, with all necessary precautions in place to help ensure patient safety.  All facilities and teams maintain a safe environment by monitoring employees, patients and visitors with temperature checks, health and travel status updates, mandatory masks, hand sanitizing, social distancing, and strict environment disinfection protocols.

To learn more about the next phases of expansion and renovation and how to support the Growing Forward Campaign, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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