Inpatient Oncology Units and Care

A senior woman meets with a nurse on the surgical oncology unit at Baptist Cancer Center

Most types of cancer treatment provided at Baptist Cancer Center, including most chemotherapy and radiation treatments, are outpatient, meaning patients come to the center for their treatment and leave without being admitted to one of our facilities.

However, some patients undergoing more invasive procedures and treatment options require inpatient care. Baptist Cancer Center's inpatient care units, including the medical oncology, surgical oncology, and myelosuppression units are staffed with experts to provide patients with specialized cancer care services.

What is medical oncology?

Medical oncology is a type of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. Most inpatient cancer care is provided at Baptist Cancer Center's medical oncology unit. Medical oncology nurses play a pivotal role in the quality of life for cancer patients throughout the treatment process. The nurses in the medical oncology unit are specially trained in several areas, from delivering advanced treatments to pain management, nutritional needs, symptom management and cancer-related emergencies.

Types of Cancer Treated

The unit treats patients with all types of cancer, including:

  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Uterine
  • Ovarian
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Skin
  • Leukemia

The medical oncology unit nursing team is responsible for administering chemotherapy to patients throughout the hospital. Patient and family education is also an important part of the nurses' daily routines. Nurses teach a variety of subjects that include nutrition, skin care, mouth care, signs and symptoms of infections, how to talk to your doctor, available treatments and answer any questions.

The nursing staff also serves as a resource for other patient care areas related to cancer and its treatment, chemotherapy and devices used to administer chemotherapy. Medical oncology unit nurses also help patients and their families cope with their disease. The team works closely with social workers, case managers, dietitians and chaplains to meet patients' needs.

What is surgical oncology?

Surgical oncology uses surgery to treat cancer by finding and removing tumors in the body. The surgical oncology unit is one of the newest Baptist Cancer Center services. A number of oncology surgeons expressed the need for a specific unit to meet the special needs patients face after cancer surgery. The surgical oncology unit meets these needs every day. The surgical oncology nurses are specially trained in providing cancer care including chemotherapy medications, disease process teaching, emotional support and postoperative assessment and care.

For patients, the postoperative period is an uncertain, sometimes frightening time, especially if they are facing body image changes or a brand new cancer diagnosis. The nurses provide for patients' quickly changing health status and assist patients and families in adjusting to that phase of the disease.

In addition, a specialized treatment room is available for special procedures that a physician would have a difficult time completing in a regular patient room. It aids in scheduling convenience.

A nourishment room is located on the surgical oncology unit for visitors and family members. Beverages and snacks are supplied in the room, and it also has space where families can keep food brought from home.

What is the myelosuppression unit?

The myelosuppression unit is a specialized oncology unit for high-risk patients, especially those patients who are undergoing high-dose chemotherapy for leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Many stem cell transplant patients also stay in the myelosuppression unit after their procedures.

Many features of the myelosuppression unit protect patients from infection. Each room on this oncology unit has positive pressure airflow to help ensure no bacteria from the hallway enter the patient room. Five sinks in the halls have electronic controls to prevent the spread of bacteria associated with handling the water controls. Specialized diets including bottled water help prevent patients from ingesting bacteria. Rules about hand-washing, visitation, mouth care and ongoing care are strictly enforced for these patients' protection.

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