** I want to make full disclosure that this blog contains only my thoughts and feelings and not those of the Mayo Clinic in any way.***

WOW. The second week of med school is even better than the first. Today we did a learning activity called “A Day in the Life,” where we got a patient scenario and had to navigate Rochester to see what resources would be available for the patient.

Our scenario was a 56 year old Panamanian man who just received a diagnosis of a brain tumor. He would be experiencing radiation and chemotherapy as treatments and could stay at Mayo for up to six months receiving treatment.

This led us to several places.
We checked out the Cancer Education Center here at Mayo – it has brilliant resources and a fair amount in Spanish for our patient. There are tons of support groups, activities, books, brochures, and websites available at the CEC.  Did I mention it’s beautiful?

Next, we checked out the Mayo Clinic Erickson Hair and Skin Care Center in the subway level of the Eisenburg building. They have wigs and hats and scarves for both men and women and also skin care resources for patients as well. 

Next we went to the gift of life transplant house that allows for patients who are receiving or donating to stay during their time at Mayo. They charge $70 for the first night and $30/day after that. This cost can be sometimes covered by insurance. It is a beautiful facility, and hopefully we can get the med students to cook a meal for the patients that can live there for up to many years!

They have giant kitchens, a great patio with grills, an excellent dining room, and big rooms for patients to stay in, along with a tv room, craft/puzzle room, exercise room, and a library! There are three different facilities where patients may stay. 

We finished our tour of some of Rochester’s resources at the Hope House run by the American Cancer Society. They had similar accommodations, but were reserved for patients receiving radiation and chemo three times a week. Patients can stay here for free for up to three months.

Overall, we found a lot of great resources for our patient, but did find a few gaps in our community’s resources. First, our patient most likely speaks Spanish, and may be the only language he knows. Navigating Rochester without knowing English could prove to be difficult, especially on public transportation or coming in by plane. Overall, there were brochures and translators available at Mayo, but the overall availability of them seemed to be a little iffy. How to improve this in the community is tough other than implementing Spanish signs along with English signs. But then again, we have people of all backgrounds and languages coming here, so translating EVERY sign into every language would be tough.
We also thought, if the patient comes from a background with few resources, he may fall through the housing gaps that we researched today. If he doesn’t have a stem cell transplant, he can’t stay at the donor house. If he is receiving treatment for more than 3 months, he can’t prolong his stay at the Hope House. I’m sure there are other resources we haven’t explored, but these seemed to be the main ones people directed us to, other than subsidized hotel rooms that may not be as immunofriendly or clean for patients with such an illness.

Overall, a great day of learning and a very interesting activity we did that is definitely opening our eyes to the side story of a patient. Medicine is more than just a diagnosis. It’s treating the patient as a whole with a collaborative team. It’s understanding the patient’s resources and how you can work with them and find new resources for them to help alleviate stress and promote health and wellness. It’s also about meeting the patient where they are and helping to work the diagnosis and treatment into their daily lives to make healthy living sustainable for them.


More soon.


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