The New MUHC Cancer Centre: Building a closer community

The shock of a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming to patients and their loved ones. Feelings of fear and uncertainty can be intensified by the sudden responsibility of having to make and keep track of numerous medical appointments and treatments in unfamiliar surroundings and across different locations.

It became clear in designing the new Cancer Centre at the Glen that centralizing access to services and experts would improve navigation and provide a sense of familiarity that could help relieve patient stress. The ultimate aim is to provide patients and their families with easy access to the most efficient, multidisciplinary care, in the most calming and comfortable environment possible. 

“The Cancer Centre will be truly comprehensive. All care will be provided in one place. Patients will not have to travel from department to department, or go from hospital to hospital for appointments; nurse case managers specialized by type of cancer will assist patients and their families to navigate the health system throughout their illness trajectory,” says Dr. Armen Aprikian, Chief of Oncology at the MUHC.  “The design teams have worked diligently to ensure that all the services patients need are found under one roof,” he adds.
The new Cancer Centre will also integrate other important non-medical aspects that encourage well-being and serenity such as healing gardens, green spaces, supportive care services and visual art. The healing gardens will be accessible both physically and visually from the Cancer Centre and available to patients, families, and staff who want some quiet time and a break from their treatment or stressful work day.
With that in mind, a tranquil setting near the main entrance of the Cancer Centre will be reserved for patient education materials, including informational pamphlets, books, and DVDs. Because knowledge and understanding about one’s situation can play an important role in helping a patient manage their cancer and their path to healing, a Patient and Visitor Resource Centre will be provided where a dedicated librarian will assist patients to access professionally vetted information. Self-serve information kiosks that provide Internet access to cancer-related health information will also be available. 
The Patient and Visitor Resource Centre will be home to The Cedars Cancer Institute’s CanSupport Program, which provides cancer patients and their families with emotional, psychological and financial support and resources. The Resource Centre will host support groups, such as Look Good, Feel Better, and provide information and referrals for prosthetics.
“The layout and design of the Glen site Cancer Centre will make it easier for MUHC staff to treat the physical aspects of this disease, but it will also help ensure that we are supporting the people behind the disease,” says Dr. Aprikian. “It isn’t just about fixing their bodies; it’s about guiding them through the healing process.” 
The Cancer Centre will bring together:
  • Radiotherapy and Medical Physics departments
  • Oncology Day Hospital
  • Urgent Care and Test Centres
  • Ambulatory Care and Pain Clinics
  • Palliative Care
  • Clinical Research Unit and Tumor Registry
  • Patient and Visitor Resource Centre
  • Health Information Resource Centre
  • Dental services (for patients who develop oral health issues as a side effect of treatment)

Patients can access the Cancer Centre directly through its own entrance and a drop-off zone.