CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is putting new technology to use at one of their facilities.
Its Cancer Treatment Center has introduced a new option for people undergoing radiation therapy, called a Sentient Radiation Therapy Suite. It allows patients to create a unique, individualized experience during each treatment session, so they feel less like they're at a hospital, and more like they're at home.
Joyce Isbel is one of the patients that has used the new suite. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just three months ago and shortly after, she began radiation therapy.
"You're of course frightened, and 'What does that mean for the future?' And you're apprehensive... and it changes your life," Isbel says.
In the midst of that fear, however, Isbel's first treatment came with a surprising calm. Music, movies, and mood lighting from the Sentient Suite put her at ease. It's the first one used for radiation therapy on the East Coast.
"Once I got on the table, I began to relax," Isbel says.
Stephanie Morris is the Cancer Treatment Center's Lead Radiation Therapist and has been with Chesapeake Regional Healthcare for nearly 11 years. She can attest to the anxiety her patients feel before treatment and how the Sentient Suite can now help change that.
"We are all here for our patients," Morris says. "We just absolutely love them and if we can do something extra like this for them, it make us happy."
With the simple touch of a button, sights and sounds are customized to a patients' liking.
"It takes your mind away from really, maybe what's going on," Isbel says, and her mind goes to a happier place as she faces one of the biggest fights of her life.
Isbel says the music alone is enough to change the atmosphere of treatment for her.
"I walk in dancing with them... And I dance leaving too!"
Funds for the Sentient Suite were provided by the Chesapeake Regional Health Foundation. It comes with several music and video options or people can bring their own. There's also ambient lighting in a variety of colors.
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare also posted a short video about the suite on YouTube:
To learn more about Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, visit http://chesapeakeregional.com/