The new SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center opened its doors on October 15, 2013. Our state-of-the-art facility is located at 3535 N. Bell School Rd and offers treatment and support to our patients and their families. Together with our colleagues from the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center, we believe that this center will become the preeminent destination for comprehensive cancer care in northern Illinois. It is our mission to create a superior patient experience, deliver exceptional treatment outcomes and offer world class academic medical and specialty care with a compassionate and holistic approach.
Diane Scoville, MSHA
The SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center recently welcomed our new medical director, Dr. Daniel Mulkerin, a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Mulkerin completed an internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.
In September our multidisciplinary lung cancer team was honored with The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for Lung Cancer. SwedishAmerican was one of only six hospitals in the nation to earn this special approval, which recognizes our hospital for meeting The Joint Commission’s national standards for healthcare quality and safety in lung cancer care. The Regional Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary lung cancer team includes specialists who offer an efficient, coordinated approach in the evaluation and treatment of this disease. The team consists of a thoracic surgeon, medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, radiologists, a pathologist and a nurse navigator.
At SwedishAmerican, we are committed to improving the early detection of Lung Cancer in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region. We have implemented a lung screening program that offers our patients the opportunity to participate without a physician referral. Most often, lung cancer is a silently growing cancer and is undetected until it has progressed to a later stage, which decreases a patient’s overall survival rate. Scientists from the National Cancer Institute have found a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths among current or former heavy smokers who were screened with low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) versus those screened by chest X-ray.
Our quality team continues to support our journey toward the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) accreditation. QOPI was developed by world-renowned practicing oncologists and quality experts, using evidence-based clinical guidelines and published standards, such as the National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality (NICCQ), ASCO/NCCN Quality Measures and ASTRO/ASCO/AMA PCPI Oncology Measures to continuously integrate quality improvement into patient-centered clinical practice.
Our Holistic Service department expanded its presence within the cancer center to include pet, music and art therapies; and our social service department developed and implemented our new THRIVE survivorship program, which focuses on supporting the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of oncology patients and their families from the moment of diagnosis through treatment and beyond. The center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council continues to provide a strong, guiding patient-centered voice in the development of all service, outreach clinics and programs.
The Oncology Rehabilitation department boasts one certified physical therapist who has achieved the STAR certification in oncology rehabilitation. STAR Program Certification consists of an evidence-based education and training program that hospitals and cancer centers offer to their administrative and clinical staff in order to quickly and expertly develop superior oncology rehabilitation services. Our rehabilitation specialists are trained to evaluate and treat cancer-related issues such as pain, fatigue, strengthen, range of motion and soft tissue restrictions.
The Medical Oncology department continues to provide outpatient services in both Rockford and Dixon. Our spacious chemotherapy suite has 50 private and semi-private infusion chairs, giving patients the flexibility to choose the most comfortable treatment environment. The Radiation Oncology department offers state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology, provided by a caring staff of radiation oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and nurses. Advanced treatment technologies include two linear accelerators for radiation therapies such as IGRT, SBRT, IMRT, brachytherapy/mammosite, HDRT and stereotactic therapy. Our cancer center also is equipped with a brand new dedicated Medical Imagining department equipped with advanced imaging technologies, including digital X-ray and a PET/CT simulator. Our staff includes interventional radiologists who perform the latest cancer treatment procedures, including radiofrequency ablation and chemoablation.
The SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center Laboratory is staffed by a board-certified medical technologist and supports oncology patients by performing same-day, on-site testing for many of the ordered tests. Laboratory services are provided with a high complexity CLIA certificate.
In order to provide world-class cancer care, our clinical professionals need to stay on top of up-and-coming treatments and care regimens. In 2013 our cancer center provided and supported five live professional education opportunities. Throughout the year, Regional Cancer Center nursing staff completed monthly education modules highlighting a variety of topics. Under the direction of our staff-lead educational committee, and in close collaboration with physician leaders, we have developed and provided several relevant physician- and nursing-centered educational opportunities which we hope will have a positive effect on patient outcomes. All education programs provide free CEUs to licensed staff and are open to physicians and nurses throughout the health system, inpatient and outpatient alike.
Collaboration between many community organizations has helped the SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center live its mission of caring for our community by providing outreach and education, to reach the underserved and outlying communities. Strong relationships with the American Cancer Society, Rockford Public Schools, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for example, allow outreach to the populations at greatest need for education. Because of the significant impact that education plays in behavior modification and health promotion, community education is a priority for Regional Cancer Center leadership and staff. Over the last year we participated in 12 community education programs. Topics included lung cancer and smoking cessation, sun safety to prevent skin cancer, nutrition, healthy eating, cancer prevention, testicular cancer, HPV and its related cancers, and more. Presentations were delivered to a variety of audiences and age groups, from elementary school to older adults. Each presentation highlighted the healthy behaviors key to cancer prevention or early detection for that audience’s age range.
In addition to community education, the Regional Cancer Center has participated in and supported eight community cancer awareness events. Our staff members also volunteer for various community outreach events within the community. Their commitment to patient care is evident not only in the clinic or office but in every event they attend. Annual participation in the Relay for Life and Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society, Light the Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Bow Tie March for Men for Healing Pathways Cancer Resource Center demonstrates our staff’s commitment to the community. These events help strengthen the bond our center has with our patients, their families, and the community which supports them. As we embark on this next chapter, we look forward to new opportunities for supporting our community and ensuring a healthier future.
Over the past year, the SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center has continued its efforts toward providing a center of excellence for all oncology patients within the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region. Through program enhancements, quality outcomes, clinician education, early detection, community advocacy and patient/family- centered care, we continue our journey to be the preeminent destination for comprehensive cancer care for our region. Hope is here!