LIVINGSTON, N.J. – The Radiation Oncology Department of Saint Barnabas Medical Center is celebrating the completion of a two-part, yearlong renovation project that includes the addition of state-of-the-art technology as well as design features to enhance patient comfort and privacy.
Established more than 30 years ago, Radiation Oncology at Saint Barnabas has always been on the cutting edge in patient treatment and offers the largest program of its kind in northern New Jersey. To accommodate the more than 24,000 new treatments and re-treatments a year, the Department initiated a $925,000 construction plan to install the latest equipment and incorporate other changes directed toward patient satisfaction.
Part I of the project included the installation of two new linear accelerators that replace two older models giving the Department a total of three modern accelerators. Linear accelerators are instrumental in delivering radiation therapy to cancer sites in the body. Each weighs approximately seven tons and requires a sophisticated vault-like room comprised of four-foot thick walls lined with lead brick. One linear accelerator was installed in October 2000, and the most recent one added in the Fall 2001. The latest acquisitions feature a multileaf collimator and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, an advanced cancer treatment that delivers complex doses of radiation to tumors, including tumors near vital organs or other sensitive areas, while minimizing effects on healthy tissue.
The second part of the renovation project entails modifications that specifically address patient comfort and satisfaction issues and included renovations to the entrance, reception, and waiting areas. It was made possible by a generous $125,000 capital grant by the Saint Barnabas Auxiliary.
Renovations include a new canopy to cover the entrance and welcome patients into the department; renovation of the reception area, waiting room, and hallways to accommodate both patients and their family members, and an added changing room to provide separate spaces for men and women awaiting treatment. New carpeting, wall finishes and furniture in lavender, yellow and green create a warm and soothing healing environment.
The yearlong renovation project caused a disruption in the Department’s usual operations. However, Radiation Oncology’s strong leadership and dedicated staff managed to incorporate extended hours and other creative scheduling to accommodate over 100 patients a day. Not surprisingly, this dedication to patient satisfaction and medical excellence earned the Department Saint Barnabas’ new Department of the Quarter Award, awarded for the first time in December 2001.
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