DALLAS, Texas — Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas recently opened Baylor Cancer Hospital, the region’s first dedicated cancer hospital. The cancer hospital provides inpatient cancer care services, a 24-hour oncology evaluation and treatment center, as well as an array of support services to cancer patients, their families and caregivers.
The 175,000-square-foot facility is located on the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas campus and is the result of a $125-million total renovation of two existing buildings. Baylor Cancer Hospital began treating patients in mid-January and additional services will open in the months to follow. Baylor Cancer Hospital is expected to be fully operational early November 2012.
“We treat more patients than any other hospital in North Texas seeing nearly 10,000 inpatients and outpatients each year” says John McWhorter, president, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. “What makes this new facility unique is that it is exclusively a cancer hospital, and the staff is specially trained to manage all aspects of cancer care.”
The staff will have advanced technology and treatment options at their fingertips as they care for patients with all types of cancers. From monitoring systems to medication administration systems to novel chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments, McWhorter says the goal of the hospital is to help cancer patients become cancer survivors.
Baylor Cancer Hospital is the second dedicated cancer treatment facility Baylor has opened in the past year. In March 2011, Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, a 10-story outpatient cancer center, also opened its doors on the Baylor Dallas campus. Both facilities and a new parking garage are part of a $375 million construction project.
“The cancer hospital and cancer center are fully integrated and were built to complement each other,” Dr. Alan Miller, chief of oncology, Baylor Health Care System, medical director; Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. “In fact, they are physically connected and will share many of the same support services so the transition from inpatient services to outpatient services will be seamless.”
Patients at the cancer hospital may participate in support groups at the outpatient cancer center, or take advantage of other complementary therapies and services such as cooking classes, music intervention and art programs, an onsite chapel, meditation areas and much more.
But the new dedicated cancer hospital is not only good news for patients. It is also good for the health of the local economy. By the end of the year, Baylor Cancer Hospital will create approximately 250 permanent (non-construction) jobs. While most positions will be professional jobs, such as nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and radiology specialists, the hospital will employ a robust support team as well.
As a destination cancer hospital that will serve patients from the Metroplex, other parts of Texas, surrounding states and beyond, it will focus on providing patients and their families comfortable, useful amenities.
“The rooms are much larger than what you’d typically find at a hospital, and they are absolutely gorgeous,” says Dr. Miller. “They have family space that includes a TV, desk, sofa and sleep area.”
Each patient’s room can also be divided, so while the patient receives treatment or rests, the family can interact or rest without disturbing each other. In addition, because many patients stay for an extended period of time, the hospital offers washer and dryer facilities that as well as a shower area for families and caregivers. There also are a number of healing spaces for private prayer and meditation.
In addition to the amenities above, Baylor Cancer Hospital will provide access to a number of dining options for families and visitors.
Baylor Cancer Hospital opened some floors on January 18. Remaining floors will open as they are completed through the end of 2012.
“We wanted to start seeing patients as soon as possible. So rather than waiting until everything was finished, we decided to open the floors that had been completed,” says Dr. Miller.