Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC) is a not-for-profit, 749-bed, premier teaching institution with nearly 1,300 affiliated physicians, ACMC serves as a major referral hospital in the Midwest for a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services; heart, lung and kidney transplantation; neurosciences; oncology; orthopedics; and women’s health. As a major teaching institution, the medical center annually trains more than 400 residents, 600 medical students, and 800 nursing students. Advocate Christ Medical Center diagnoses almost 2000 patients with cancer per year.
Gilda’s Club Chicago (GCC) at ACMC is an integral part of the cancer center. In 2015, GCC served more than 500 patient and family member visits. GCC at ACMC provides free support for the whole family, the whole time throughout their cancer experience. Located on the ground floor of the Advocate Christ Medical Center Outpatient Pavillion.
Advocate South Suburban Hospital is a 291 bed, not-for-profit, acute care, community hospital located in one of Chicago's southern suburbs, Hazel Crest, Illinois. As a member of the Advocate Health Care System, South Suburban Hospital provides a wide range of comprehensive inpatient services for medical/surgical, cardiac, obstetric, pediatric, orthopedic, oncology and diabetes care. The patient population is multi-cultural and multi-racial including people with roots in Africa, Europe, India, Latin America and the Middle East. The surrounding neighborhoods and communities are among the most well-integrated communities in Chicagoland. Advocate South Suburban Hospital diagnosed over 260 patients with cancer last year.
Surviving and Thriving is a monthly patient education class. Surviving and Thriving was developed in 2012 by Peggy Kupres, Manager of the ACMC Center for Breast Care and 11-year cancer survivor. Each session began with a 15-minute “Nutrition in a Nutshell” given by a dietician and focused on healthy eating options. This was followed by a 40-minute lecture focusing on different Survivorship topics each month, such as: Late and Long-Term Effects of Treatment, Exercise, Healthy Eating, Mindfulness, How to Talk with Your Doctor, Estate Planning, Sexuality After Cancer, etc. The topics were chosen by the patients on their evaluations throughout the sessions and conducted by specialists in the content. Each session ended with a 20-minute exercise program conducted by a physical therapist. After founder of Surviving and Thriving left ACMC, the program was continued by Gilda’s Club Chicago at ACMC and introduced to their downtown Chicago main clubhouse. The program continues today without the nutrition exercise portion.
The program was designed to address the limited patient education opportunities available at the time. The lectures reinforced items addressed in patients’ care plan discussion and to address their fears. The diet and exercise portions were designed to hardwire the evidence-based importance of both for cancer survivors.