Given the complexity and challenges of treating cancer, Torrance Memorial
Hunt Cancer Institute is building a new hub for cancer care where patients
will find expert guidance, the most advanced treatments, a comforting
environment and staff that is very attentive to patient needs.
Scheduled to open in December, the Hunt Cancer Center will bring together
the oncology expertise of Torrance Memorial and its partner, Cedars-Sinai,
as well as community specialists. “This will give us a very comprehensive
oncology team on-site,” says Heidi Assigal, vice president of business
and operations for Torrance Memorial Health System.
The center will consolidate Torrance Memorial’s existing cancer treatment
services to one location, including its nurse navigators, genetic counseling
services, clinical research trials to be conducted in partnership with
Cedars-Sinai, and infusion and chemotherapy. It will also relocate the
Torrance Memorial Physician Network – Cancer Care medical group
from its Redondo Beach office to the medical center’s main campus.
Team members will include nurse navigators, who serve as care coordinators,
patient advocates and personalized schedules for patients through all
aspects of care. “They really help patients and families to know
what the next steps are,” Assigal says. “The idea is to take
the logistic and administrative hurdles away from patients and their loved
At the same time, there will be on-site genetic counseling with additional
medical expertise coming from Cedars-Sinai, she says. The new partnership
also will expand access to promising new treatments, as the oncology team
strives to bring as many clinical trials to the South Bay as possible.
And the multidisciplinary approach to care, in which Torrance Memorial’s
tumor board develops a personalized treatment plan for each patient, will
be enhanced by new subspecialists.
Planners also have paid significant attention to the patient environment,
focusing on both comfort and monitored care, Assigal says. Because patients
often bring family members along to hear a diagnosis or post-treatment
evaluation, exam rooms will have extra space for them. And waiting and
treatment areas will feature soothing colors and art of nature, along
with plenty of window space and natural light. Infusion centers, where
patients are given chemotherapy, will offer snacks, warming blankets and
personal entertainment consoles.
Those receiving chemotherapy will be housed in care clusters, with each
nurse caring for four patients. “Patients will have more of a personal
zone,” Assigal says, “yet nurses will be just a couple of
steps away for easy monitoring.”
Overall, she says, “The whole center is designed around convenience
for the patients, starting with being able to park on-site, take the elevator
right up and sit in comfortable, beautiful waiting rooms before being