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A Place to Hang Their Coats–and Troubles
The new Hackerman-Patz House is a home away from home for cancer patients and their families.


Scott Genshaw and Elaine Meyers share a light moment in the spacious communal kitchen.

Cancer patients Scott Genshaw of Delaware and Elaine Meyers of New Mexico were satisfied with their accommodations at the original Hackerman-Patz and aging Joanne Rockwell Memorial houses. But when they visited an open house for the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center with their spouses, they admitted that their cozy and comfortable quarters were no comparison to their soon-to-be home away from home.

On Dec. 5, hospital officials cut the ribbon for the brick four-story, 42,600-square-foot building—double the space of the current facilities. The couples, who befriended each other since arriving at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment, moved into their roomier space on Dec. 17, along with 15 other patients and their families in Hopkins housing. The Genshaws and Meyers joked that they were getting first dibs on their rooms—all with living space, separate sleeping areas and a kitchen—but distinguished by better city views and proximity to the common kitchen, activity room and other amenities.

“It’s upscale,” Genshaw says about the suites, which have flat-screen televisions. But most important, the leukemia patient says, it’s a short walk across the street to the cancer center for treatment.

The new pavilion features 39 suites—10 of them one-bedroom apartments for extended stays—decorated in a soothing color palette of sage green and earth tones. Among the decorator touches are framed photography, mixed media and paintings, many of them donated by Hopkins employees who participated in an art contest last fall. Families will have access to a library, laundry facility, integrative medicine suite, guest computer area and free parking.

The goal was to make patients feel like they were at home—not in an institution, says Terry Langbaum, chief administrative officer for the cancer center. To accomplish that, patients are able to cook and eat in either their rooms or in the main kitchen, surf the Internet with Wi-Fi and enjoy yoga classes and movie nights.

“We’re excited to serve patients much better,” says Langbaum. “It’s not just about providing a place to stay. It’s wrapping our arms around them and providing companionship when they need it, privacy when they need it. We look at what’s going to make life easier for them while they’re undergoing one of the most challenging times of their lives.” 

–Janet Anderson



Johns Hopkins Medicine

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