Submitting to chemotherapy, radiation treatments, MRIs, CT scans and the like can be bad enough. But often, dreary, windowless rooms and corridors only worsen the experience.
Now, some institutions hope that by making these areas more appealing, they can ease patients' stress, fear and feelings of helplessness, and perhaps influence a patient's outcome for the better.
To treat the ovarian cancer she has been fighting since 2002, Kathleen Donoghue must spend an hour at a time hooked up to an intravenous line that pumps a powerful chemotherapy drug into her body. But instead of what's known as a chemo "corral" -- often a windowless infusion room with several patients clustered around a nurse's station -- she settles into a comfortable recliner in a private infusion bay at the new Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.
The $95 million Milwaukee facility has floor-to-ceiling windows, a view of woods and a pond, and privacy curtains that Ms. Donoghue can close or leave open to chat with the staff.
"I like the feeling of space and brightness and airiness," says the 70-year-old. "Everything is so patient-oriented."