Visiting Us for the First Time?
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life-changing. It triggers a universe of emotions for those diagnosed and their loved ones, and can add layers of complexity to already complicated lives. If you are a Pioneer Valley resident facing a cancer diagnosis–or know someone who is—you have access to the same level of care in Northampton at the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital as you would in Boston at the Mass General Cancer Center.
A supportive team at the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital helps you feel at ease. The care team also offers the skills, expertise, resources, and technology that are critical to any cancer diagnosis and treatment. If you are visiting us for the first time, read on for helpful reminders.
Who You’ll Meet
The Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital is designed to coordinate care so members of your team are available in one location. Depending on your diagnosis, it is likely your care team will include a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon, nurses, social worker, and other members of your care team. For your first appointment with us, please bring the following information with you or help coordinate these materials so we have them when we see you:
• Any images (X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans) or test results that your doctor requested
• Names and telephone numbers of all your doctors
• A list of all prescriptions, allergies (or reactions to medications), over-the-counter medications, and supplements or herbs you take, as well as any integrative therapies such as acupuncture or massage that you are using
• A list of questions for your care team.
Patients and members of their families often have fear and anxiety about a cancer diagnosis. In her role as the nurse navigator at the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Becky Puchalski, RN, helps those who are newly diagnosed with cancer understand their diagnosis and treatment options. When someone is diagnosed, Becky and her colleagues provide individualized care from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Nurse navigators meet with newly diagnosed patients to assist with access issues, appointment coordination, and assistance with referrals to community resources.
Being diagnosed and treated for cancer can be a challenging time in one’s life, and Cooley Dickinson’s chaplains are available for support at any point during your treatment process. You may consider yourself a member of a particular religion or spiritual path (such as Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant Christian, Buddhist), a member of a faith community or not, or not sure about whether you’d like a faith community in your life; spiritual, not religious, atheist or agnostic, or simply in need of more support.
Here are some situations where chaplains can be of great benefit:
• Providing spiritual care to patients who are newly diagnosed
• Working with families of patients going through treatment
• Deciding whether to pursue treatment or not/confronting end-of-life issues
For assistance, contact Pastoral Care/Chaplaincy at 413-582-2869.
Cancer Care Fund
The Cancer Care Fund is available to patients and families who face a specific financial hardship as a result of a cancer diagnosis or treatment. This fund also enables our staff to provide survivorship/community education programs and free cancer screening clinics that address prevention and early detection related to site-specific cancers. The Cancer Care fund is administered by Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital staff. To learn more, call 413-582-2396.
Located in an interior courtyard complete with meandering walkways, water features, trees, grasses, and plantings, the Healing Garden offers a sanctuary for mobile patients, visitors, and staff who seek quiet time and a chance to connect with nature and self. Patients unable to enjoy the outdoor garden have access to garden views from several treatment areas, hospital corridors, and patient rooms. An ongoing engraved brick program offers the community an opportunity to continue to support the garden. Thoughtful memories, quotes, or other meaningful words are displayed throughout the garden’s main walkway. For more information about the Healing Garden brick and donation program at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, please call 413-582-GIVE (4483).
Our Financial counselors can assist with questions related to bills and insurance coverage. They can also help you apply for government assistance if you are having difficulty with medical costs. For more information, speak with your oncology social worker or call 413-582-2396.
Non-English, limited English-proficient, deaf and hard-of-hearing patients and family members have the right to free medical interpretation services. Your doctor’s office can schedule an interpreter or coordinate medical interpreter services on your behalf.
Gugger Memorial Chapel
The Gugger Memorial Chapel is a non-denominational space for people of any faith or belief to seek comfort and peace. Overlooking the hospital’s healing garden, the room features a majestic natural centerpiece cut from ancient Goshen stone, and offers a warm, quiet space for those contemplating matters of depth and spirituality. The Chapel was made possible by Brock Lynch, MD, a retired cancer surgeon, World War II veteran and a tenor in the Young@Heart Chorus, coupled with additional donations from the community, and was named for Lynch’s brother-in-law, Vincent Daniel Gugger.
Dhara MacDermed Joins Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson
Radiation Oncologist Dhara MacDermed, MD, has joined the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital as a radiation oncologist this summer. Of her new role, MacDermed said she is pleased to join a team of "caregivers that regularly collaborates with colleagues at the Mass General Cancer Center in Boston.”Learn More