COLORADO SPRINGS – A new tower dedicated to women’s and oncology services opened to patients at UCHealth Memorial Hospital North on Monday February 25th, 2019.
A couple of weeks before the opening, Chris Bianca, the senior director of the UCHealth Oncology Service Line, gave me a tour around the first floor of the new tower.
Bianca explains, “The population has been growing on the north side of Colorado Springs, and we’ve seen that over the years. We wanted to meet the needs of the individuals in this community to be able to provide that same comprehensive care for folks, so that they didn’t have to drive from the north end of town to downtown Colorado Springs.”
The first floor of the new tower is dedicated to oncology services, and serves as a place that brings together the large team of providers associated with cancer care under one roof.
Bianca says, “When a patient comes to see an oncologist, there are many different individuals they have to see. There’s the radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and surgeon. There is also support services like a navigator, a social worker, a nutritionist. If those providers are scattered from place to place, they will all require different appointments. The coordinated approach brings everybody together in one space, so that a patient can have all their appointments on the same day, so they don’t have to go from place to place, they don’t have to schedule different appointments.”
The new expansion also features a state-of-the-art multi-purpose conference room that can be used for patient support groups, cooking classes and exercise classes for patients. It’s also where the UCHealth tumor board will meet.
Bianca explains that the tumor board helps build a coordinated foundation for a new patient’s care. “The tumor board is a multidisciplinary group of individuals. That’s the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, the surgeon, and research. Any trials that we have throughout the (UCHealth) system we can bring here to Memorial North. You also have navigators, and pathology, radiology, and social workers. All those folks sit around a table review the case and determine what the next steps will be for that individual. It’s all done in the same place, on the same day and everybody’s on the same page. Oncology really requires a team approach, It’s not one individual provider. There’s many folks that are involved with supporting our cancer patients.”
Infusion is a big part of cancer treatment, and the new expansion at Memorial North also has a spacious new infusion center with a view of Pikes Peak and the Front Range mountains.
Bianca says the layout and views from the new center were a focus. “In the infusion area, we are really trying to make sure that folks can look out into the beautiful scenery that we have here in Colorado. We made it very open and spacious with a lot of natural light for patients. We know that people don’t want to have to come to oncology care and treatment. It’s difficult, but if they have to be here, we want to make it as easy, friendly, inviting and supportive for them as possible.”
Also on Monday morning February 25th, Martin and Ashley Smith from Peyton, Colorado, welcomed their new son Noah. Noah was the last baby to be delivered in Memorial North’s original birth center. Just hours after his birth, he and his mother were transferred to Memorial North’s new women’s center on the upper floors of the new tower.
Since first opening in 2007, UCHealth Memorial North has grown from a small community hospital to a full-service hospital.
Bianca adds, “There’s a lot more services available here in the new tower. We have additional space for a pharmacy area as well as the new women’s maternity services. That’s also a big part of this expansion; the oncology center is just one component of it. It’s all about bringing a lot of these services here, to provide a lot of women’s care women’s health on the northern side of Colorado Springs.”