Katie Poole — Patients benefit from the new cancer center

Katie Poole was among the first group of people to experience cancer care at the new Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. She said her experience was made much easier by the amenities offered at the center, but even more so by her interactions with the nurses and doctors who cared for her.

Katie-Poole.jpgThe Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut had only been open a few months when a nervous and frightened Katie Poole walked through the building’s doors for the first time after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.

It was around Christmastime — six months after the center’s grand opening in June 2015 - when she and her husband walked in, and she noticed the word “Peace” spelled out in large letters above the stone-inlaid fireplace that greets people in the main entrance.

“Seeing that, and seeing those surroundings, just gave me an overwhelming feeling like everything was going to be OK,” said Katie, a 24-year-old Kentucky native and newlywed who had just recently moved to New Britain with her husband.

Katie is one of more than several hundred patients who over the past year have been welcomed at the new cancer center, which features more than 60,000 square feet of modern, state-of-the-art clinical services in a warm and gentle setting that is designed to put patients at ease. Katie said her experience was made much easier by the amenities offered at the center, but even more so by her interactions with the nurses and doctors who cared for her.

“Going through chemotherapy is never fun, but I actually did find myself looking forward to my visits because it was just such a welcoming place for me,” said Katie, whose last chemotherapy treatment was in June. “As time went on I found that my conversations with the nurses were more personal, more like talking with a friend than just the medical conversation. I really felt like they cared for me as a person.”

Katie’s diagnosis came less than three months after her wedding, and she remembers how scared and uncertain she and her husband felt while they sat in a waiting room before undergoing her first chemotherapy treatment.

“I remember a staff member came out and he could see that we were kind of distraught, and he instantly came up to us and told us how he had been a patient once too, and that everything was going to be OK,” she said. “It struck me what a kind thing to do that was, and eventually I found out that everyone there is like that.”


“Going through chemotherapy is never fun, but I actually did find myself looking forward to my visits because it was just such a welcoming place for me,”

– Katie Poole


When she learned that she would have to go through chemotherapy, Katie said she worried about images she had seen of cold and impersonal infusion centers where people sit in cramped spaces with needles and IV’s hooked up in rows.

She said she could not believe it when she walked in the new center’s spacious infusion center, which features numerous private bays where patients can sit in a semi-private room with adjustable recliner chairs and high-definition TVs while they receive their treatment. Best of all, she said, each bay has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the woods behind the center, which features a winding nature path circling a pond.

“It always brought me such a sense of peace and calm to look out on that view,” she said.

Donna Handley, vice president of operations for the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, said experiences like Katie’s are the reason that the cancer center — located off Interstate 84 on the New Britain-Plainville town line — was built.

“We felt there was a need to create a single location where patients could receive the full range of care they might need without having to get in their car,” she said. “At the same time, we wanted to create an environment that would help with the healing process, where patients would feel confident and cared for.”

Besides the fireplaces, nature path and other amenities, the cancer center features a staff of patient ambassadors who greet everyone who enters the building to help them get to the places where they need to go.

Katie’s medical oncologist, Wylie Hosmer, MD, said the facility makes it much easier for physicians to provide the coordinated treatment and monitoring that patients need to successfully fight their disease.

“Because of the logistics of the center, it’s a lot easier to work with specialists across a variety of disciplines to establish the best course of treatment for each individual patient,” Dr. Hosmer said.


Also in This Section

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute