A gift one family made out of gratitude for excellent patient care has led to even better care for patients and families at the Cancer Care Clinic at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
Kacey Hampton had just graduated from Webster University in St. Louis in May 2011 and was excited to begin his career. However, one month later his father, Greg, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia.
Greg soon started chemotherapy and had hoped to have a bone marrow transplant, but his doctor in Colorado told him the cancer was too aggressive and it wasn’t worth trying.
One Move Makes All the Difference
So Greg stopped chemotherapy and moved to St. Louis to be close to Kacey in his final months. Greg’s brother, Joel, who had lost his wife to breast cancer just a year before, moved from Ohio to St. Louis to help take care of Greg.
One day, Greg was in so much pain that Joel took him to Siteman Cancer Center to find relief.
A Siteman doctor persuaded Greg to try chemotherapy again with hopes for a bone marrow transplant. Joel was a perfect bone marrow donor match. “Stepping into Siteman led my dad to change his mind about treatment and to keep fighting,” Kacey says. “That decision gave him an additional six months to live his life.”
Another factor in Greg’s decision to continue his fight was the level of expertise Siteman has in treating leukemia.
Siteman’s adult bone marrow and stem cell transplant program is one of the largest in the world. The National Cancer Institute considers Siteman to have “the preeminent leukemia center in the country.” Siteman also has the leading cancer genomics program in the country, with expertise in understanding the genes that cause leukemia.
Greg had chemotherapy and eventually a bone marrow transplant at Siteman in December 2011. “By February, he was living on his own again and felt strong,” Kacey recalls. “Unfortunately, during one week in March, he took a sudden turn and passed away at age 65. If he had never gone to Siteman, he would not have had those extra months with us. Siteman gave him hope and extended his life.”
Kacey and his family are grateful to Siteman for the care and compassion Greg received. “The nurses and doctors at Siteman were absolutely amazing,” Kacey says. “We all felt a personal connection to the Siteman team. Everyone was very professional and we felt comfortable knowing my father was being well taken care of.”
Giving Back to Transform Care
Because of the kindness and expertise of the Siteman team, the Hampton family members wanted to find a way to express their gratitude.
When they learned Siteman’s Cancer Care Clinic needed support to make it more family-friendly, they didn’t hesitate to join together to make a family gift. “It’s a Hampton family trait to give back to help people,” Kacey says.
Before Greg died, he established the Greg Hampton Foundation as a way to continue his legacy of helping others.
“Our foundation’s goal is to make sustainable changes that help people,” Kacey says. “We realized this gift to Siteman’s Cancer Care Clinic has the ability to transform care. It has a long-term impact.”
The Hampton’s gift was designed to improve the patient and family experience in the Cancer Care Clinic. Their gift supported renovations to the clinic’s space to create a quiet, calming space for family members to wait, while also improving the work flow area to better serve patients and families.
Meeting Special Needs for Patients
The Cancer Care Clinic, which opened in 2009, provides services to cancer patients who have urgent needs. Sometimes this specialized care is needed over a weekend or in the middle of the night so the clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s staffed by Siteman team members who are experts in caring for cancer patients’ unique needs.
Patients also come to the clinic for scheduled infusion treatments of chemotherapy, fluids, antibiotics, blood transfusions, or other care.
The Hampton gift has had ripple effects.
It led to several process improvements for the patient’s total experience: a calmer, more spa-like atmosphere for patients where they feel safe, comforted, and cared for. The clinic’s improvements have resulted in increased patient satisfaction scores.
Kacey and his family are happy to see the long-term impact of their gift.
“Seeing how our gift transformed care and the patient experience was awesome,” he says. “It’s amazing how small changes in an environment can improve patient care and lead to even more changes.”
And it all started with gratitude.
“I loved my father a lot and a great deal of other people also loved and appreciated having him walk through their lives,” Kacey says. “Our gift to Siteman is a thank you from our family for having Siteman walk through our lives. They extended my dad’s life so we could enjoy more time together.”
He continues: “I’ve learned how a relatively small donation can empower people and change lives. And it doesn’t take much to make such a difference.”