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Oncology patients find comfort in new care-centered clinic design

Dec 1, 2023

Home 5 News 5 Oncology patients find comfort in new care-centered clinic design

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Friday, December 1, 2023

A recent renovation of the oncology clinic at Aberdeen Hospital has created a new patient program room and waiting area for patients and their support persons.


Karen Swan became manager of Cancer Care for the Northern Zone in July of 2022 and in this role supports the Systemic Therapy Clinics, General Practitioner Oncology Clinics, and the Cancer Patient Navigator at Aberdeen Hospital.

“I saw the potential to impact both the patient experience and staff experience at Aberdeen Hospital right away,” explains Swan, when asked how the plan to renovate came together. “One of the main priorities from the site lead at Aberdeen Hospital, Jennifer Sutherland, was to create a space for patient products such as wigs, prosthetics, head coverings and educational materials that was more welcoming.”

A plan was drafted and with funding from the Aberdeen Health Foundation, work began in the fall of 2022. Among the many planned changes included the creation of new waiting areas, storage spaces, and areas to display patient program and support group information. The project was completed and opened for the public in spring of 2023.

The newly redesigned oncology clinic, pictured above, at Aberdeen Hospital has created a new patient program room and waiting area for patients and their support persons, streamlining care and increasing clinic flow and function. The oncology staff (bottom left) express their gratitude to the community, whose generous donations to the Aberdeen Health Foundation made this project possible. Pictured from left to right: Karen Swan, Sarah MacLaren, Rylee MacDonald, Chelsea Spicer, Cheryl Smith, and Cassidy White.

“One of the biggest impacts from the work has been the change in the atmosphere and presentation for patients in the clinic. We now have new and comfortable chairs for their support persons, a bright beautiful colour in the clinic, a nutrition centre in the waiting room including access to free Ensure drinks, new patient privacy curtains, and the display of beautiful pictures on some of our windows that were graciously shared for use by our very own Dr. Gerry Farrell,” describes Swan.

“One patient said to me, ‘I was picturing a dark space in that clinic, and I know that is because I was so scared, but when I walked in, I was greeted with a beautiful, bright space and smiling faces from the staff.’ Patients and families can feel more comfortable and confident in their care and have the benefit of this care taking place in such a beautiful, welcoming environment.”

The staff response has been overwhelmingly positive, with the creation of a new nurses’ station that allows staff to work together with clear sight lines to their patients during treatments, new patient scales for each exam room, a crash cart for both pediatric and adult patient populations, a cart to house supplies for specific bladder cancer treatments, and the addition of a new comfortable stretcher for long treatments.

One of the added impacts of these changes has been increased clinic flow and function. “This support gives more nursing time for patients in the streamlining of workflow and relocation of storage,” explains Swan.

“Without funding from the Aberdeen Health Foundation, none of this would be possible. Their contributions mean so much, not only to the growth and development of our clinic, but also to the communities that we serve. It is so impactful to have supports like this because it allows us to take care provision to the next level, offering that extra support that both patients and staff need.”

The ability to fund these projects has been a privilege afforded to the Foundation by the community says Michelle Ferris, Executive Director of the Aberdeen Health Foundation. “Projects like this are made possible thanks to the ongoing generous support of our community,” Ferris explains. “Being able to use donor gifts to directly impact quality of care for patients and families in Pictou County is a privilege beyond measure.”


The Aberdeen Health Foundation is the leading charity for enhancing health care in Pictou County. In 2022 the Foundation invested over $2 million to fund medical equipment and enhance health programs at the Aberdeen Hospital and in our community.

Michelle Ferris
Executive Director
Aberdeen Health Foundation

902-752-7600 ext. 4442