Facility to bring cancer patients closer to home | VailDaily.com

Facility to bring cancer patients closer to home

Tamara Miller

EDWARDS – The Shaw Regional Cancer Center hopes to bring their patients a little closer to home.Organizers are nearing the half-way mark in their effort to build a temporary home for patients receiving care at the cancer center. They plan to build the home, which will be called the Shaw Caring House, next to the cancer center. Many of the cancer center patients live several hours away from Edwards. Chemotherapy – the most common therapy for treating cancer – typically leaves patients fatigued and nauseous, making travel particularly difficult, said Tracey Samdahl, director of the cancer center.”That’s four hours on the road when you are not felling well,” Samdahl said. “There’s really a need for the patients not to have the stress of travel. That way they can really focus on being well.”In the meantime, out-of-county patients have to brave the travel or stay in nearby hotels. Vail Resorts also has opened some unused employee housing units for Shaw Center patients, Samdahl said. But even those rooms are a drive away from the cancer center, she added. “There’s definitely anecdotal evidence that the more you can reduce the stress, let alone for an diagnosis like cancer, patients heal more rapidly,” Samdahl said. As planned, the caring house will have rooms that will resemble hotel suites, with a queen-sized bed, a desk and a cot or something similar for a caregiver. Most patients have a friend or relative that accompanies them during treatment, said Stan Anderson, senior vice president for the Vail Valley Medical Center. The hospital is associated with the cancer center. There will likely be eight rooms at first. A second phase of construction would add another eight rooms for 16 rooms all together. Patient would be able to stay in the caring house for free, Anderson said. Plans also call for a common area with a kitchen, dining room and library, Samdahl said. The fund-raisers, the nonprofit Shaw Outreach team, have gathered about $1.5 million for the caring house so far, and have about $2 million to go, Samdahl said. The Board of Commissioners approved the plan last month. A ground-breaking for the caring house hasn’t been set yet.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.

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