The new Center for Cancer and Specialty Care at Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center offers cancer diagnosis and treatment and social support in one facility in an underserved area on Chicago’s West Side. 

The building once served as a convent for Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth but ,as their numbers declined, they decided to give their home to Presence Health for use as a place of healing. Turning the former convent into a specialized health facility presented design challenges, says Mike Czyrka, AIA, principal, HKS Architects. 

“Our first challenge was imagining how we would convert a convent in to a cancer center, which is quite a transformation. Secondly, the client asked us to locate a linear accelerator in a two-car parking garage. These challenges were unique, and our team created a bespoke design,” Czyrka says.

Designers also viewed the project as an opportunity to optimize workflow and patient care in the new center, says Kimberly Caramagno, associate, HKS Architects.

“To that end, the HKS design team envisioned a centralized building where patients could easily access a variety of treatments. This also enabled staff to collaborate more effectively, and offer patients more specialized care,“ she says.

After $12 million worth of renovations and construction, the new 13,000-square-foot center provides comprehensive cancer care in a facility that houses some of the most advanced cancer imaging and treatment technology available.

The technology includes a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, which provides precise treatment of tumors in sensitive areas of the body. State-of-the-art PET-CT equipment allows for precise imaging to identify, plan and simulate radiation treatments.

Several of the convent’s former bedrooms have been converted into private infusion spaces, with room for family and loved ones during extended treatment sessions. Patients can receive treatment in a private room or in a semiprivate area with other patients.

Based on feedback from patients, the new center is designed to be family friendly, welcoming and supportive of patients and their families. Bright, comfortable design starts in the waiting room and continues in the infusion rooms and elsewhere in the facility.

The former convent’s chapel has been transformed into a community resource center, equipped with the latest web conferencing and presentation systems. The center is used to host oncology quality review meetings, community and survivor support groups, makeup and wig fitting classes, as well as meetings with community organizations. 
It also includes medical exam rooms, a pharmacy and lab space.

The center will support the city’s west and northwest sides, which have been underserved for cancer-related care, Presence Health states. The new center is expected to treat more than 5,000 patients in the first year, a number expected to grow over time as cancer cases are projected to increase by 18 percent over the next decade.   

The facility also will provide social support to patients by offering a financial counselor, behavioral health specialist and a social service expert to assist them with questions and concerns on issues from transportation to financial assistance.

An oncology patient navigator will help patients deal with emotional burden and guide them throughout treatment. Advanced practice nurses will help patients schedule appointments, manage side effects and keep them informed about test results.

In other health care facility news:

  • The MetroHealth System completed the sale of $945.7 million in hospital revenue bonds May 25 to fund transformation of its Cleveland campus. The project will include construction of a hospital with 270 private rooms, a new central utility plant, a new parking garage and other projects.

    MetroHealth will select a master architect of record for the campus transformation and a construction manager at risk for the new 1,200 to 1,500 car parking garage. The system’s board of trustees will approve the chosen firms at its June board meeting. MetroHealth plans to start building the parking garage at the end of this summer.

  • The recent ground breaking for the new UCHealth Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Hospital marks the start of a project that will bring innovative and advanced care to one of the fastest growing areas of the country.

    Spanning approximately 360,000 square feet — with an adjacent 85,000-square-foot medical office building housing a two-story cancer center — the full-service hospital will open with approximately 72 inpatient beds with room to expand. The hospital is scheduled to open in early 2019.

Want to see your new health care construction project featured on HFM DailyEmail project information and photos to Senior Editor Jeff Ferenc or tweet to him @JeffFerenc