Good Samaritan Hospital plans new oncology unit

Downers Grove, IL

Bob and Betsy Holland in 1990 suffered the worst tragedy that parents can experience: Their son, in the summer before the start of his junior year at Indiana’s DePauw University, lost his life following a serious car accident.

The Hollands have now made sure that the memory of their son, Kenneth Brooks Holland, a former football and basketball star at Downers Grove South High School and a member of the National Honor Society, will live on. Through its charitable trust, the Hollands have provided funding to help Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove design and build a new oncology unit, one built to provide the most comfort possible for patients, family members and visitors.

The Hollands and hospital officials held a dedication ceremony Oct. 6 for the Kenneth Brooks Holland Oncology Unit, which will treat patients diagnosed with cancer. A key feature of the new unit will be comfortable rooms for patients and equally comforting waiting rooms for their family members.

After their son’s accident, the Hollands spent long weeks by his bedside. Unfortunately, there were no comfortable chairs in the hospital’s waiting area. This left the Hollands no choice but to get as much sleep as they could on hospital floors, just so they could remain close to their son.

The Hollands, who were out of town and unavailable for comment, made their financial gift to Good Sam so that no other parents would have to do the same.

Hospital officials are thankful for the Hollands’ financial gift.

“Comfort is so important to both the patients we are treating and to their families,” said Paula Timmerman, director of oncology at the hospital. “All the literature we review and look at does say that comfort helps speed the healing process for patients. It’s important, too, to provide comfortable waiting areas for family members. It’s important for the patients’ well-being to have their families and loved ones close by.”

Though no starting construction date has yet been set, many of the plans for the Kenneth Brooks Holland Oncology Unit are already set. The unit will feature six private and semi-private patient rooms, each with an alcove for family members. These alcoves will include comfortable seating areas and separately controlled lighting and televisions.

The unit also will come with two waiting areas. One will include a fireplace, while a second will boast shower facilities. The unit will be equipped with a kitchenette, too.

The construction plans also call for an outpatient chemotherapy center.

Good Sam’s current oncology unit does not have special accommodations for family members in all areas. This is a situation that the unit’s staffers are eager to see corrected, Timmerman said.

“Patient and family comfort has become more of an issue with hospitals as we realize how much the environment contributes to good patient outcomes,” Timmerman said. “Right now, the rooms we have for patients are adequate. They are rather generic, though. They are like the rooms we’d have for any patient in the hospital. They are not set up for the unique needs of oncology patients.”

Current oncology patients at Good Sam had the opportunity to offer their own input regarding the unit’s color scheme and design aesthetics. The unit will be colored with neutral earth tones, designed to be soothing, and will be built with many natural materials.