June 16, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - After being touched by cancer, Livingston residents Hyla Weiss and Suzanne Unger have created Comfort Project 360, a fund at Saint Barnabas Medical Center Foundation, focused on transforming the experience for cancer patients at the facility. The fund is designed to ease the minds and lift the spirits of adults living with cancer, as well as to compliment the care provided by the Saint Barnabas Department of Radiation Oncology.
Weiss and Unger are collaborating with the Saint Barnabas Medical Center to implement research-based enhancements to create the “ultimate” healing environment—both physically and emotionally. The funds will be used to regularly augment the aesthetics; provide “simple comforts;” and offer wellness programs.
There will be physical changes, such as: new patient and family waiting areas, new changing areas for men and women, enhanced treatment and exam rooms, a renovated nurses’ station, and a newly remodeled patient education room.
There will also be new artwork portraying images of nature, which studies have shown can significantly decrease stress, anger, fear and increase pleasant feelings.
One new program being offered is “Power of the Positive Word,” which will provide patients with inspiring quotes and messages.
In addition, the designer lingerie company Cosabella is creating comfortable robes and gowns for men and women as part of the Comfort Project 360.
“We are excited that Hyla and Suzanne have chosen to focus their efforts at Saint Barnabas Medical Center,” stated President and CEO of Saint Barnabas Medical Center John F. Bonamo, MD, MS. “They both have experienced the impact of cancer on their families—directly and indirectly. We value their insight, vision, commitment and dedication to improving the experience for patients with cancer.”
Weiss, a two-time cancer survivor, knows first-hand the rigors of daily radiation treatments. She stated, “The medical care I received was excellent. However, I found dealing with cancer emotionally challenging and it definitely took its toll on my spirit. I felt very vulnerable each time I walked into the center even though the staff greeted me with open arms.”
“Upon completing my treatments, I realized that it’s the ‘little things’ that can make a big difference in making the healing journey easier for patients and their families and that is what we are hoping to do at Saint Barnabas,” Weiss concluded.
Caring for the caregiver is an important component of the project—one Unger said she understands fully having been at her mother’s side throughout her six-year battle with breast cancer.
“Having a family member who was touched by cancer, I recognize and understand the value of a nurturing environment in which to receive care,” remarked Unger. “During those many hours at the hospital, accompanying my mother to her treatments, the environment definitely impacted my psyche. I truly believe in the mind, body, spirit connection and our goal is to enhance all aspects of the care circle to provide comfort.”
Weiss and Unger said they joined forces to create Comfort Project 360 to enhance the overall experience for patients and their families dealing with cancer and they “welcome others to join our mission.” For more information, click HERE or call 973-322-4330