Community support helps LMH Health maintain strong cancer care
Patients do not have to travel far from home to receive exceptional cancer treatment. LMH Health Oncology & Hematology offers a multidisciplinary approach with the ability to treat all forms of cancer, and serves as a beacon of hope for all community members, regardless of their ability to afford care.
LMH Health Oncology & Hematology offers clinical trials and high-risk and genetic screening. According to Dr. Jodie Barr, a physician at LMH Health Oncology & Hematology Center, the personal care and connection is what also sets the clinic apart from the rest.
“We have a very personal touch with our patients here,” said Dr. Barr. “With our great nursing staff, I’d rank it as one of the top in the country. Our patients have a sense of comfort when they come in for treatment and that’s because of our team.”
Generous community support over the years through LMH Health Foundation has helped strengthen LMH Health Oncology & Hematology. Recently, this support has made possible a new cancer survivorship program and bolstered funding to charitable care.
“The community stands behind LMH Health,” said Dr. Barr. “We are who we are because the community supports this hospital, and we are able to take care of everyone.”
LMH Health Oncology & Hematology survivorship program
With the national population of cancer survivors growing, an increasing need exists to provide comprehensive cancer survivorship care to people living with and through their diagnosis. The vision of LMH Health Oncology & Hematology’s new survivorship program is to develop a comprehensive, whole-person model of survivorship care across the continuum of cancer care.
A full-time nurse navigator position was needed for the program to launch. A generous gift from the late Frank Becker and his wife, Barbara, helped fund this position. Frank was treated at the LMH Health Oncology & Hematology Center for a little more than four years, and he said supporting the survivorship program and funding the position was a natural choice.
“LMH Health has grown into an outstanding cancer treatment center,” Becker said in a 2018 interview. “Anytime I’ve visited, I’ve never heard anyone say a discouraging word. I’ve grown to see how good LMH Health is, and it needs a little extra help from all of us.”
Amy Shealy, a registered nurse, started working as the survivorship program’s nurse navigator in January. The daughter of two nurses, Shealy enjoys developing relationships with LMH Health Oncology & Hematology patients through their survivorship journey.
“I love our patients and knowing that I’m part of someone’s story,” Shealy said. “I’m glad to provide them with comfort and be the person they turn to in a very scary moment in their life.”
Shealy collaborated with Lori Winfrey, an oncology nurse practitioner, to create a comprehensive survivorship care plan given to patients at their first appointment after treatment has ended. The plan outlines the important details about the patient’s journey, from their first diagnosis to their last treatment, including medications, dosages and surgery dates.
The survivorship team also includes a detailed care plan, outlining everything a survivor needs to do moving forward. Shealy and Winfrey continue to meet with survivors through the weeks, months and years after treatment to help make sure the survivors stay on track in all aspects of their health, from keeping up with medications and regular preventative exams to checking in on their mental health.
“We are the bridge between the final cancer treatment and life afterward,” Shealy said. “The survivorship team brings it all together and looks at each person holistically to make sure they stay healthy.”
Shealy wants people to know that LMH Health Oncology & Hematology has great resources and that community members do not have to drive an hour away for treatment.
“I’ve seen the ‘big guns’, but I know a community hospital can do a great job at cancer treatment,” Shealy said. “We have five wonderful physicians who treat all of the cancers and everyone works as a team. You always feel like you’re welcome here. It has been such a great experience coming to LMH Health.”
Charitable care at LMH Health
Health care in the United States can come at a staggering cost to patients, and oncology care is no exception. As a community-owned, not-for-profit hospital, LMH Health serves the health care needs of the community regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Each year, LMH Health provides $25 million in charitable care.
“This is a community hospital that has a charitable mission worth millions of dollars,” said Rebecca Smith, executive director of the LMH Health Foundation. “That’s why LMH Health is different. That’s why it matters, and that’s why people care about it.”
LMH Health receives no tax support from the city of Lawrence or Douglas County and invests all excess revenues in services, equipment and facilities. The Help and Healing Fund and Catch a Break Fund are two options available to support oncology patients at LMH Health.
Help and Healing Fund
In 2005, the LMH Health Foundation established the Help and Healing Fund to help any patient in need with expenses for medications, medical equipment or other necessities for healing and recovery after a hospital stay.
The Help and Healing Fund provides up to $300 or a 30-day supply of medication that LMH Health physicians have prescribed. This assistance, which is critical to ensure patients stay on the path to healthy living and safe healing, is funded through gifts to the LMH Health Foundation and the LMH Health Employee Campaign.
Catch a Break Fund
The Catch a Break Fund at LMH Health helps cancer survivors in the community pay for day-to-day needs like medications, car repairs, utilities and food during one of the most difficult times in their lives.
In the last few weeks, the Catch a Break Fund has helped a patient purchase new clothing after significant weight loss from treatment, and helped a patient afford gas for trips to the hospital.
Catch a Break is funded by gifts to the LMH Health Foundation and event proceeds from the foundation’s annual Rock the Block – Kick Cancer Event. This year, Rock the Block – Kick Cancer is on Friday, Oct. 18 at Dale Willey Automotive in Lawrence.
— Courtney Bernard is a development coordinator for LMH Health Foundation. LMH Health is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.