Health Center celebrates 10 years

The OhioHealth Delaware Health Center is celebrating 10 years of service in the community, including providing infusion services and five years of offering radiation oncology for cancer patients throughout Delaware County and beyond.

Throughout the past decade, countless patients have benefited from the potentially life-saving procedures offered at the center. Perhaps as notable as the quality-of-care patients receive, however, has been the level of respect each patient receives from the staff as they undergo some of the most difficult moments of their lives.

Dr. Cassandra Grenade, a cancer specialist at the Delaware Health Center, said of their approach to patients, “Cancer itself takes up so much of a patient’s time. As much as possible, we like to give that time back.”

Sharon Alles De Silva is one of those patients who has experienced the kindness and respect of the staff at the health center. A breast cancer survivor, Alles De Silva received her chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the Delaware Health Center after being diagnosed last June. While considering her options prior to the start of treatment, the staff’s respect for a patient’s time, as well as the levels of care and concern she experienced at the facility, ultimately led her to the center.

“When you walk in, you don’t feel like you’re entering a treatment center,” Alles De Silva said. “You feel like you’re going to see your friends. They make you feel welcome, and that makes a huge difference.”

Alles De Silva was keen on scheduling her appointments at 8 a.m., and she said the staff at the Delaware Health Center “made it happen,” adding, “They become your extended family.”

Carla Knisley, the director of clinical support services at Delaware Health Center, said that prior to the center being built, patients would have to travel to the larger hospitals in the OhioHealth system for chemotherapy and radiation oncology services. In addition to the drive itself, patients had to find parking and navigate large facilities, making the entire experience all the more stressful in moments already difficult to overcome.

Even the scheduling process, which is so often handled in a central location, is more personable for patients seeking care at the Delaware Health Center. Patients will receive a call from a cancer care team member at the center as soon as their physicians have referred them to the center.

“It’s much different here. Everything is very convenient, and it’s all identifiable,” Knisley said in a press release. “When patients come in, they’re greeted by the whole team. If they’ve been here more than once, they’re most likely greeted by name. It’s more like that family environment.”

Operations manager Tonya Upperman added in the release, “Patients love it. They love feeling like they’re not just a number.”

In recent years, the center has expanded its oncology programs, including offering stereotactic radiosurgery last year for the treatment of cancers that have spread to the brain. Additional providers and services are planned to be added in the near future, ensuring the Delaware Health Center remains an invaluable asset to the community for years to come.

“We are a hidden gem,” Grenade said. “What makes a difference is not just the location, it’s the people. We treat patients here like family. We cry with them, we celebrate with them, and we grieve with them. We are very, very invested in our patients.”

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.