The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital officially opened its refurbished chemotherapy services room in Perth on April 20. In an emotional gathering of doctors, nurses and loved ones of three cancer patients who sadly lost their lives to cancer – Hilary Drummond, Dr. Erin Savage and Yarrow Viets – Karen Rennie, chair of the Great War Memorial Hospital Foundation praised the new space. “It will allow patients to receive care closer to home and lessen their need to travel to Kingston for treatment and care,” she said.
Vice-President of Patient Care Michele Bellows said, “This room is dedicated to celebrating the lives of three of our hospital family. The strength and courage each displayed is a quality we see each and every day in our patients and families. This medical day unit has been completely refurbished, with state-of-the-art equipment, technology, furnishings and decor.”
Bellows had high praise for “the nurses in our unit who advocate for our patients every day and have certainly been a part of its success.”
Loved ones of Drummond, Savage and Viets all rang a bell, which is normally rung when a cancer patient finishes their treatment, to officially open the treatment room.
“When you finish the treatment, you get to ring the bell, which is something we never got to do,” said Martha Moore, an emergency room nurse whose daughter, Yarrow Viets, passed away in 2015 following a cancer diagnosis the previous fall. “She worked here as a student nurse and also at the Ottawa Civic. She was an athlete, a marathoner, incredibly fit and healthy but she had a rare genetic mutation. She was the mother of twin boys, so it was pretty devastating.”
The expanded service area, funded through donations to the hospital foundation, is part of Cancer Care Ontario’s goal of strengthening regional capacity to optimize appropriate delivery of care for systemic treatment of certain types of cancer.
“When people are sick, they don’t want to be far away from home or loved ones,” said Perth Mayor John Fenik. “It’s a very warm, inviting room, a very comfortable space in which the various chemo drugs can be administered.”
The program operates Monday to Friday at the Great War Memorial site. Patients will be received through referrals from Kingston Health Sciences Centre (formerly Kingston General Hospital). It is anticipated that approximately 300 plus treatments will be provided to area residents on an annual basis.