Patients in Jefferson County lack access to comprehensive, quality cancer care at home
Patients in Jefferson County lack access to comprehensive, quality cancer care at home. Although Jefferson Healthcare provides excellent cancer diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy, we cannot currently offer radiation oncology, a critical cancer treatment modality. Residents in our community and their families must travel significant distances for very brief visits to receive radiation treatment. These visits can take more than 2-3 hours round trip as residents must drive into neighboring counties, across the Hood Canal Bridge, and back. This is an incredible burden since radiation therapy often consists of four to six weeks of five-day-a-week treatment.
This is disruptive to our patients and their support systems; several of our patients continue to work throughout their cancer treatment, and many rely on caregivers to drive them to and from their appointments. This has a very real impact on our economy. The burden of securing travel to these distant visits deters some patients from receiving radiation therapy, despite its benefits for the long-term outlook of their cancer diagnosis.
“This project is strongly supported by the Jefferson County community and is expected to serve hundreds of patients annually. Federal funding of $2.5 million would complete the project when combined with hospital revenue, and the project would break ground in 2023.” — Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn
Best practice in cancer care entails a single integrated team that works together on patient care plans. This allows providers with different specialties to collaborate on the best course of action for a patient and change course if treatments aren’t giving the best outcomes. Integrating a radiation oncologist into the team at Jefferson Healthcare will provide huge benefits to our patients and their health outcomes.
The Port Townsend area is projected for significant population growth over the next decade. This, combined with the average age of our community, creates a compelling need for new cancer treatment options on the Peninsula. Jefferson County’s population and the percentage aged over 65 will continue to grow. In 2035, OFM has projected a population of 38,600, with 40% of the population being 65+. This creates an increased need for appropriate, comprehensive, and whole-person cancer treatment options right here at home.