Woodwinds Health Campus on Tuesday unveiled its latest initiative to fight cancer.
The Woodbury hospital, part of the HealthEast system, has expanded its offerings for cancer patients with new facilities for chemotherapy and an increase in on-site oncologists. The number of people with cancer in the Woodbury area is growing faster than it is elsewhere, mostly due to an aging population and increased early detection, said Les Stern, vice president of specialty physicians with HealthEast.
With its holistic care model—which includes acupressure, music therapy and other alternative-medicine options—Woodwinds was well suited for the expanded care, Stern said. The new program, called "Cancer Care," will also mean shorter drives for many cancer patients.
"Woodwinds' integrated approach is ideal for cancer treatment," he said. "If you think about an ideal setting for a cancer patient, this is it."
Plans for the Cancer Care program also include moving a linear accelerator—used for radiation therapy—to Woodwinds from St. John's Hospital, which has two of the devices. But Minnesota has a moratorium on new construction of linear accelerators in the metro area, and Woodwinds will have to ask permission from the state to move it, Stern said. There is no set timeline for the move, he said, but officials will ask the state for permission sometime next year.
Creating the Cancer Care program at Woodwinds has been in the works for several years, Stern said. Though the program began in early October, hospital officials wanted to manage its growth and went without a large publicity campaign. Still, through word of mouth the program now serves about 30 patients a week, some new and others who have transferred from different HealthEast facilities, he said.
Cindy Bultena, the chief nursing officer at Woodwinds, said the response so far has been "dynamite."
"The holistic care model we offer, in addition to oncology services, really sets us apart," she said. "We focus on the continuum of care."
Dr. Puneet Cheema, a HealthEast oncologist who is at Woodwinds at least once a week, spoke at Tuesday's open house, which was attended by area lawmakers and local elected officials, among others. Cancer patients have been asking for more alternative-therapy options, he said.
"This was a natural progression of our cancer program," Cheema said.
Marian Eisenmann, a staff chaplain at Woodwinds, spoke about the health care facility's benefits for cancer patients, providing "a safe haven in the midst of their storm."
"What a blessing this new Cancer Care center is to our community," she said.
The main focus of the new space—housed in an existing area the health campus—is to provide cancer patients with the gamut of services they need, Stern said.
"It's not an episode of care. It's scanning, diagnostics, treatment, support services, therapy and survivorship, managing the patient so there's no recurrence," he said.
For more information about Woodwinds visit www.healtheast.org/woodwinds.html.