Hope away from home for cancer patients is becoming a reality

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

According to a needs assessment, and with numerous treatment facilities in the vicinity, Salt Lake City's Hope Lodge would likely house at 80 to 85 percent capacity year-round. The facility would also provide shuttle transportation to and from hospitals, clinics and physician offices.

"There is definitely a need," said Huntsman Cancer Institute spokeswoman Linda Aagard. The Huntsman Cancer Institute leases a 16-apartment building, available at reduced rates for patients and caregivers, near Ronald McDonald House property downtown.

Patients and caregivers also sometimes stay with friends and/or family in the area, take advantage of discounted hotel and motel rooms, or they sometimes occupy mobile homes and RVs in hospital parking lots.

"It's just not ideal," Eccles said. "They need the right kind of place to stay."

One in two men and one in three women can expect to be diagnosed with some type of cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. The prevalence increases a need for in-depth research, which is being done at multiple sites across the state of Utah and "attracts people from all over," said Intermountain Healthcare radiologist Dr. Brett Parkinson.

"Not only are we the crossroads of the West, we really are the crossroads of research," he said. Parkinson said it is important for patients to not only get the best care, but also have a comfortable place to recuperate.

"Where we heal is just as important as how we feel," he said.

For more information about the proposed Hope Lodge, or to make a donation, visit www.hopelodgeutah.org.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com Twitter: wendyleonards

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