In the fall of 2009, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance opened a second housing facility to help patients who require short stays during treatment.
Named the SCCA House, it serves patients visiting general oncology clinics and Long-Term Follow-Up Program patients returning for their follow-up visits. The new and carefully monitored clean environment is designed for patients with some degree of immunosuppression in mind.
The SCCA House features several communal areas and shared facilities, including a kitchen and dining room. It offers 80 private suites with kitchenettes (equipped with microwave, small fridge, and sink) that are geared to those needing to stay a few nights to a few weeks.
Similar in concept to a Ronald McDonald House, patients prepare meals in a communal kitchen and enjoy the dining room, living room, meditation room, resource center, wellness room, and other spaces with their fellow sojourners.
The secured building also includes many other amenities, including a laundry room and complimentary wireless and Internet access. Shuttle service to the SCCA clinics and local grocery stores allows patients to stay in relative comfort while here during some of the most difficult days of their lives.
"Seattle is known for many things: rain, coffee, Microsoft, the Space Needle, beautiful views, and to some, world-leading cancer care. But if you need that care, the expense of coming to Seattle for treatment is a major barrier," said Debbie Fraley, housing and family assistance coordinator for the SCCA.
"Many patients experience financial hardships because their expenses at home don't go away while they're in treatment," she said. "We hear every day that second only to the outcome of a patient's treatment, worrying about local housing and affording that housing is the biggest stressor for patients and their loved ones."
That was the impetus behind the development of a second facility. SCCA already operated the Pete Gross House, which has allowed thousands of patients and their families to have a home-like place to stay during treatment.
The new residence offers a great supportive community for patients and their families, Fraley said.
"The opportunity to offer support groups, yoga, knitting classes, or family-style dinners will allow guests to gain support, make friends, share, and decompress, which we believe to be very important features to wellness."
Patients who need financial assistance should contact the SCCA's social workers to investigate potential resources.
As with all other hospitality facilities, the SCCA House welcomes financial gifts of support, and maintains a "wish list" of in-kind gifts and volunteer opportunities.
"We hope that you'll watch our website for updates on news and opportunities to become involved," Fraley said. For more information, see http://www.seattlecca.org/housing.