Maine Coast Memorial Hospital is located at 50 Union Street in Ellsworth, Maine
MCMH Plans New Cancer Center
ELLSWORTH — Maine Coast Memorial Hospital plans to break ground this fall on a new center to provide intravenous treatment to patients with cancer or other illnesses. The new $2.1-million Mary Dow Center will be located next to the hospital’s front entrance, where the emergency room used to be.The Ellsworth American.
“We’re more than doubling our space,” said Jayne Wixon, nurse manager of the Mary Dow Center. The outpatient treatment center is now located in less than 3,000 square feet of space on the third floor of Maine Coast’s Medical Office Building. It was built in 1997.
The new center will be 6,500 square feet. About half will be new construction and the rest will use the former ER space. The number of infusion chairs, where patients receive chemotherapy or other treatments, will increase from six to 12.
In addition to treating oncology patients, the Mary Dow Center provides anemia therapy, treatment for multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, blood transfusions and doses of antibiotics. A rheumatologist’s office is also located in the center.
Wixon said patients were surveyed about what they would like to see in a new space. “What we heard was that they would like to have options,” she said.
In the new center, patients will have their choice of private or semi-private rooms.
The infusion rooms will overlook a new healing garden.
“You have to sit there a long time. To have the butterflies and flowers to look at will be great,” said hospital Marketing Director Jane Sanderson.
Treatments can last from 45 minutes to the whole day, said Wixon.
The center is an ongoing collaboration with Eastern Maine Medical Center’s CancerCare of Maine.
There will be an increased physician presence in the new location. Dr. Phillip Brooks, who has been on a 2½-year sabbatical in China, will be returning. The new center also will have its own pharmacy and dedicated pharmacist.
Hospital representatives said this will improve the workflow. The pharmacist will be onsite to review orders and discuss treatment with doctors instead of having to come from a different part of the hospital.
Greater efficiency and increased space will allow the center to treat more patients. “We had 3,375 patient visits in the last fiscal year,” Wixon said. “I will expect that to increase significantly.”
Hospital officials are planning a $500,000 capital campaign to support the project. Remaining funding will come from the operating budget, cash reserve and a Mary Dow Fund, according to Sanderson.
Dow was a longtime nurse at the hospital who battled breast cancer. She traveled to Bangor for chemotherapy and radiation and told her doctor there was a need for such services in Ellsworth. The architect on the project is Roc Caivano of Bar Harbor. The construction manager is H.E. Callahan of Auburn.