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HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network Providing care for the mind, body and spirit

Wednesday, February 6, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andrea Tyler Evans
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Article etc. *By Catie Richman

The Story
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Center at HonorHealth was founded 20 years ago as a cancer care destination — a place where patients and their families could go to receive all aspects of treatment in one spot.

Its goal was to simplify the overwhelming protocol that comes with a cancer diagnosis, including multiple doctor visits for radiation, chemotherapy and rehabilitation.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place you could go and not only get all of that treatment but also be able to get the other support you need? That’s how the idea started,” said Caroline Berger, the associate vice president of donor relations at HonorHealth Foundation, and a 13-year breast cancer survivor.

It was from this inspiration and a generous grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust that the center was established. Located at the Scottsdale Shea Medical campus, the center draws patients from all over the world who come for treatment ranging from radiation to chemotherapy to imaging and surgical services as well as for a community of support from compassionate experts.

“The whole theme behind what we do is to have a caring environment,” said Nancy McCutcheon, manager of community outreach and operations. “You walk in and it says, ‘Dedicated to all the courageous people who are fighting cancer. May and your families find inspiration, caring, healing and hope within these walls.’ That is the message we want every patient to receive.”

In 2005, a “bridge between care and the cure” was built, connecting the cancer care center to the HonorHealth Research Institute, opening up access to groundbreaking clinical trials for qualified patients.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Berger. “You have this nationally acclaimed center with all of this innovation and care that could be matched against many larger institutions in the United States, but you also have that feeling of a community hospital.”

The Cause
Cancer affects more than physical health. It can also take a toll on patients psychologically and spiritually. That’s why HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network is committed to providing personalized care that goes beyond clinical treatment to care for the whole individual — mind, body and spirit.

Patients have access to support services including nurse navigators, social workers, exercise physiologists, survivor services, board-certified cancer dietitians, and even Tina’s Treasures, a cancer boutique offering wigs, bra fittings for breast cancer patients, prostheses and specialized beauty classes.

Under the umbrella of support services, the Mind, Body and Spirit Program provides complementary therapies designed to alleviate the stress and painful side effects of treatment and instill coping mechanisms to improve the patient’s overall well-being. Free yoga, drum circles, gong meditation, tai chi, reiki, art, journaling, knitting, embroidery and cooking classes are offered through the program.

“It’s helpful for people to see that the Mind, Body and Spirit program focuses on the whole person. You look at the needs of the patients, and based on those needs, you make a recommendation for therapy. Every patient is different,” said McCutcheon. “When you can get them to a place where the anxiety and stress are reduced, that helps them move forward in their healing process.”

The Future
In the past couple of years, HonorHealth has embarked on a mission to provide leading-edge cancer care to patients at locations throughout the metro Phoenix area. Under the banner of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network, the organization has opened outpatient centers from Wickenburg to Avondale. The cancer care center at the Scottsdale Shea campus still remains the hub and home to the majority of Mind, Body and Spirit programs but as the network continues to grow, the support services are growing as well.

“We want to add even more programs, looking at opportunities where we can do those exercise classes, not just here at the Shea campus but beyond,” said McCutcheon. “We want to be able to offer nutritional classes across the Valley and expand our Mind, Body and Spirit program even more.”

Some locations have already begun to offer yoga and cooking classes and have even had pop-up Tina’s Treasures shops.

“Cancer is not limited by ZIP code,” said McCutcheon. “My goal is to create a space wherever patients can come. In doing so, we open up another new realm of places for healing.”

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