LEXINGTON The new Baptist Health Lexington Cancer Center sits on the lower two floors of the impressive new North Tower at the Lexington community hospital. Opened in February 2016, the Cancer Center has an array of amenities created with cancer patients and family members in mind, such as colorful artwork, an abundance of natural light, and a 31-foot wall of color-changing water extending from the first floor to the lower level. The facility has valet parking and a designated self-parking area on the lower level of the west deck.
A spacious waiting room and 26 patient rooms serve patients seeing medical oncology and gynecologic oncology providers. This area also is home to the center’s multidisciplinary oncology clinic and outpatient palliative care clinic. A lab and a retail pharmacy are located near the waiting area.
The Infusion Center’s 24 treatment chairs and five private rooms offer patient privacy yet allow them to socialize with their families during treatment. Physicians and patients have access to the cancer research staff for those patients interested in enrolling in clinical trials. Baptist Health Lexington currently has 32 open oncology clinical trials.
Offices for cancer support services staff including nurse navigators, oncology dietitians, clinical nurse specialists, genetic counselors, and an oncology social worker are located on the first floor. A wellness center, providing massage therapy services to patients, family members, and staff completes the attention to detail in patient and staff care.
Greg Bodager, RN, BSN, OCN, is the executive director of Baptist Health Lexington Cancer Center with a background in oncology nursing, administration, infusion, and survivorship nurse navigation, both inpatient and outpatient. Bodager says, “Every decision at Baptist Health Lexington is patient-centered, from the cafeteria to environmental services, and that includes taking care of the staff who take care of the patients.”
Latest Technology on the Cancer Center Lower Level
In general terms, Bodager says cancer care at Baptist Health Lexington has three departments: medical oncology for a variety of cancers including lung, breast, colorectal, and multiple myeloma; gynecological for cervical, uterine and ovarian cancers; and radiation oncology, which often partners with medical oncology and urology. Pediatrics, acute leukemia and more specialized cancers are referred to larger academic institutions.
Radiation oncology has the Elekta Versa HD, which Bodager says is the latest version of the linear accelerator and is used for external beam radiation treatments with brain, prostate, lung, breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and head/neck being the primary sites treated. Dr. Marta Hayne and Dr. Alan Beckman are the center’s radiation oncologists.
Bodager also says that the center has the Accuray CyberKnife M6 Series, the latest version of CyberKnife, a non-invasive alternative to surgery that delivers beams of high-dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy in the primary sites of brain, lung, and prostate. “It is the only CyberKnife machine in Central and Eastern Kentucky,” says Bodager.
As a counter to the high-tech, state-of-the art treatment options on the inside, on the lower level outside is the Lucille B. Carloftis Garden, designed by award-winning garden designer Jon Carloftis to honor his mother, a cancer survivor treated at Baptist Health Lexington. Created for respite and relief, the garden can be appreciated from inside, or patients and family members may step outside to rest on surrounding benches and enjoy the scenery as well as the peaceful gurgle from three stone fountains.
Carloftis deviated from his customary “neat and clipped” look, instead opting for a wild, woodland appearance reminiscent of his mother’s Clay County roots and her strong, independent spirit.
Preserving the Feel of a Community Hospital and Growing Sustainably
According to Bodager, the patient population at the Baptist Health Lexington Cancer Center is 18 to 90+ years old and comes from Central and Eastern Kentucky. The Baptist Health cancer treatment network continues to grow with satellite locations in Frankfort, Richmond, and Corbin. Patient volume continues to meet expectations he says. “Electronic medical records allow us to communicate patient information across the entire Baptist Health community hospital network,” says Bodager.
If there is one challenge Bodager sees coming, it’s “maintaining the community hospital feel by growing sustainably.” Balancing the growth in patient volume and resources – such as social workers, dietitians, genetic counselors, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse navigators who bridge the gap between the specialists – plus clinical trials and a patient library, is a task that Bodager says keeps his focus.
“The Baptist name is highly respected as a community hospital, and yet we’re on the cutting edge of cancer treatment,” says Bodager. “We are a community hospital with some of the resources of a research hospital where providers can maintain direct contact with their patients. The emphasis is not on growth for growth’s sake. Rather, the vision here is to grow sustainably and not lose our focus on the community and patient.”
That sounds like a solid plan for growth.
The Baptist name is highly respected as a community hospital, and yet we’re on the cutting-edge of cancer treatment.— Greg Bodager