Just past the cash registers in Roswell Park’s busy Sunflower Café, you’ll find the Resource Center for Patients and Families, a welcoming place for patients, caregivers, family members and staff. Inside you’ll find up-to-date medical information that can help guide newly diagnosed patients and their families through their journey with cancer.
“The Resource Center is a non-clinical space where patients can sit down with staff and volunteers who have the time to listen, educate and support them — and their caregivers,” says Center Coordinator Martha Hickey. “Sometimes a patient may feel a sense of isolation after diagnosis and be fearful of what lies ahead. We understand the importance of empathy, compassion and knowledge. Knowledge is power.”
A soothing spa-like fragrance, dim lighting and gentle music set this special place apart from the rest of the bustling hospital. “We never make anyone feel rushed. Questions are answered, hands are held and tears are wiped. Take all the time you need!” says Hickey. Her team includes 15 dedicated volunteers, “many of whom are current or former patients and are really the backbone of the center.”
Opened in 1999 with a generous gift of $100,000 from West Herr Automotive Group, the Resource Center is open to all patients (including those who are not being treated at Roswell Park) and their loved ones, as well as healthcare professionals. It provides information about all aspects of cancer, from symptoms, diagnosis and treatment to coping, wellness, palliative care and survivorship.
Megan Battaglia, Senior Patient Education Facilitator, says that every year the center “routinely sees over 5000 patients and their families, who utilize information on diagnoses, support groups, how to talk with your doctor, and financial issues, among other topics.” All information can be translated into Spanish; if needed, an interpreter will be provided for other spoken languages.
The Resource Center also offers:
- A wig, scarf and hat boutique, where patients in treatment can select a free wig or other head covering once a year — and have it fitted to make sure it’s just right. (If you’d like your wig to match your current hairstyle and color, you might want to stop in and make your selection before you lose your hair.) On average, the center gives out more than 90 wigs a month, plus hats, scarves and other items.
- Look Good…Feel Better, a free program that can help you enhance your appearance while you’re in treatment. One popular feature of the program is a demonstration of how to create the appearance of eyebrows after treatment-related hair loss. Look Good…Feel Better was developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and the National Cosmetology Association.
- The Cancer Coach Program, which matches newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteers who have recovered from the same type of cancer. Cancer coaches provide support, encouragement and information for those who may need support along the way.
- A lending library of reference books, laptops and DVDs
- Computers and printers
Stop in and discover the Resource Center and feel the warmth, support and personalized attention from their outstanding team!
Where: First floor of the hospital, inside the Sunflower Café, by the cash registers
When: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.