By Kristy Ann Pike
The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has awarded Dixie Regional Medical Center their approval award with commendation. That means that cancer patients in southern Utah can rest assured that they are getting excellent care.
Both Dixie and Valley View offer a number of services to support cancer patients, those who provide them support (called co-survivors), and survivors.
The medical centers both have Huntsman-Intermountain Cancer Education Centers.
The facilities have libraries of information on cancer prevention, diagnoses, treatment and survivorship issues. DVDs and books are available for checkout, and free Internet access with printing capability provides patients with the information they need to take charge of their care.
Cancer Education Centers are more than just libraries.
"We want this to be a place where people can come to be uplifted," said Deb Christensen, cancer care coordinator at Dixie. "We connect people to the resources they need, including things like the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery and Look Good Feel Better programs, free lodging and gas cards, and support groups and seminars."
Dixie's Education Center brings in new information on specific topics monthly, including subjects like understanding cancer treatments, self-esteem and intimacy, communicating, nutrition, overall wellness, managing fatigue, mobilizing resources and support, relieving pain and stress management.
In addition, both Education Centers have wigs, scarves and hats available free-of-charge to cancer patients.
"The best resource we offer is our people," Christensen said. "The Education Center is staffed by volunteers, most of whom are cancer survivors or co-survivors themselves."
A nurse, Christensen is available in Dixie's Education Center on Thursdays for those with specific clinical questions, but she says many patients would rather talk to the volunteers who have "been there. They instantly bond. Those interactions are healing not only for the patient, but also for the survivor."
Both Education Centers welcome new volunteers. Training is provided, and shifts as short as two hours are available. In addition, there is a constant need for new wigs, scarves and hats. For more information, contact Deb Christensen at Dixie Regional at 688-5092 or Cheryl Bellomo at Valley View at 868-5685.
The Valley View Cancer Education Center is located inside the hospital's Huntsman-Intermountain Cancer Center. It is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information, call 868-5680.
The Dixie Regional Cancer Education Center is located at the 400 East Campus. Use the 600 South fountain entrance; the center is the last room on the right. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Dixie Regional will sponsor weekly Cancer Survivor Skills Seminars on Tuesdays through Feb. 3 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Radiation Center Conference Room, located in the Cancer Center at the 400 East campus. The seminars will be telecast to the Cancer Education Center at Valley View. Attendees are invited to bring lunch with them. Please RSVP to 251-2222 (Dixie) or 868-5685 (Valley View).
Jan. 13: Troy Mendenhall on "Benefits of Exercise During Cancer Treatment and Beyond."
Jan. 20: Christie Benton on "Functional Foods: Fabulous or Foolish?"
Jan. 27: Vicki Guerisoli on "Coping with the Grieving Process of a Diagnosis of Cancer."
Feb. 3: Deb Christensen on "Pain Less: Strategies for Managing Cancer Pain."
Living Well represents a collaboration between health care professionals, The Foundation of Dixie Regional Medical Center - a not-for-profit hospital, and The Spectrum. Contact 251-2108 for more information.