Athena DiLeva, who was one of the first patients at the Ambulatory Infusion Center, enjoys some fresh air out on the beautiful healing garden while being treated at the new Todd Cancer Pavilion.

The Todd Cancer Pavilion at Long Beach Memorial continued its opening process on Monday, July 22, as another one of its cancer programs, the Ambulatory Infusion Center, started seeing patients for the first time.

Monday’s opening of the Ambulatory Infusion Center (AIC) marked the final step in the Pavilion opening process as now all of the Todd Caner Pavilion care programs are open to patients.

The AIC has 36-private patient bays, complete with luxurious treatment chairs. Patients can choose to make their treatment bay semi-private or completely private. Families and friends are encouraged to be around in this warm and caring environment. There are two nurses assigned to every bay, so they can be very attentive to patients. Patients also are able to be mobile and move around the AIC so they can stretch their legs or go take in the views at the healing garden.

Every cancer treatment center can give patients their needed treatments but what 
Nicolann Hedgpeth, DNP, RN, NP, AOCN, program director, Ambulatory Infusion Center, thinks makes the Todd Cancer Pavilion stand apart is how it is tailored toward making the patients not feel like they are patients.

“Nobody wants to have to come to a cancer treatment center and certainly nobody wants to have cancer,” says Hedgpeth. “What I have been impressed with and surprised by is that when I speak with patients they admit that they don’t want to be in this situation but this place makes going through what they are going through not as scary and gives them peace of mind during their healing journey.”

The AIC uses advanced technology, and an expert care team to deliver infusion therapies, such as chemotherapy, to patients in a calming outpatient setting. Because the MemorialCare 
Todd Cancer Institute’s AIC is hospital-based it has much stricter standards than other community infusion centers. The AIC is staffed by all registered nurses, who have a special certification in the administration of chemotherapy, and follow rigorous evaluation standards.

The AIC provides each patient with unique, customized treatment. Targeted therapy (Assay Directed Therapy) is a chemotherapy treatment that provides patients with cancer treatment specially designed for the individual. Patients are educated about their medications and how to manage side effects while having access to any additional care and support.

Athena DiLeva, who has been receiving treatment for breast cancer at the Breast Center at the Todd Cancer Institute since the beginning of June, echoed similar thoughts about the Pavilion. “As soon as I came here I was sold because the nurses and staff are so amazing, optimistic and overwhelmingly patient,” says DiLeva. “The Pavilion is beautiful, the colors, the views, the artwork and everything in here make it very inviting. I forget that I’m here because I’m sick and just end up relaxing.”

From heated treatment chairs, to massage therapists and even pet therapy dogs, the AIC is truly a unique place where the patient comes first in every aspect.

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