“He knows everything there is to know about the day-to-day operations.” Wise says.
Following the path a patient takes as she enters the center, is examined, treated and then exits, Allen explains the seamless flow — being careful not to incorporate patients exiting through the entrance. Patient privacy and comfort needs were the creative thinking behind the design.
“(In) the other offices, it was very difficult for confidentiality,” Allen says, pointing to several individual stations with computers. Three private rooms sit at the head of the stations, taking into account the family dynamic of being diagnosed with cancer.
“Sometimes they’ve just had a bad day and need privacy, or family members may be with them,” Allen says. He walks through several winding hallways into open rooms with multiple recliners, with patients hooked to IVs, facing widows looking out onto what will be landscaped into a manicured garden.
Another hallway leads to an alcove with a round table surrounded by windows and a flatscreen TV facing it. This area is used for family conferences, cancer programs such as Look Good Feel Good, and other group sessions the center may hold.
Upon completing the patient path, Stacy Allen opens a sliding glass window. She has been with CCC since 1997, and says the new design has improved not only the atmosphere but efficiency of daily duties.
“It’s made a big, positive difference. I’m not trying to answer phones while I’m working on new patient records, everyone is much more focused,” Lane says.
Although the center is under the Central Kentucky Cancer Center umbrella, as Wise puts it, the staff likes the perception of it being all one entity.
“It’s a concept of one-stop treatment, with CKCC, CCC, 21st Century Radiation Oncology, UK HealthCare and Ephraim McDowell Cancer Support Center,” she says. The 21st Century side of the building has not been completely moved into yet, but Wise says the equipment is truly state of the art in every sense.
“This facility and its resources tops universities in what they can do,” Wise says, standing beside the 6-foot radiation chamber. Dr. Greg Carlson and his partners will soon occupy the space, which houses therapeutic radiation services.
“When Mark (Allen) and Dr. Baeker were conceptualizing the idea, it was with the thought everyone should have accessibility to it,” Wise says. “Although there are many partners here, we want this to be perceived as one big provider. That’s how we work.”
Allen stops to hug an attractive, white-haired woman sitting with an oxygen tank hooked to a tube leading to her nose. He tells her how beautifully her hair has grown back in; she beams and runs her fingers through it.
“I like working with patients,” Allen says. Although Allen is the practice administrator, a licensed nurse with a bachelors in nursing science and an oncology specialized nurse, he says he spent the morning working with IVs. “I do rounding with the doctors, sort of a liaison between doctor and patient, helping explain in more layman’s terms what is going on. I really enjoy that aspect of my job.”
Although the job is enjoyable, Allen admits — sometimes the subject matter of life and death can be hard to swallow.
“But that’s why we love it so much here (in the new building). This environment can make difficult situations easier. There’s more quiet space, more thoughtful space. Sometimes when all the cards are dealt, it’s not the greatest hand. But we now have more space to deal with that in.”