Rooms that Rock 4 Chemo reimagines the cancer treatment experience by redesigning chemotherapy treatment rooms to support the journey toward healing. RTR4C utilizes passionate community volunteers, designers, and artists to transform chemotherapy treatment spaces into beautiful and inspiring healing environments. RTR4C’s partnership with each treatment facility flows through a nine-stage process:
Whether a facility requests a project or RTR4C reaches out directly to a targeted facility, the first step in transforming treatment spaces is an in-person meeting to discuss RTR4C’s process, contracting, and pricing. The point person at each facility may vary, but key stakeholders to involve in the initial conversation typically include the head nurse, lead oncologist, development director, and utilities manager.
Following the initial conversation, RTR4C and the facility develop a contract that delineates the timeline, number of rooms to be rocked, total cost, volunteer structure, co-fundraising opportunities, and assign RTR4C responsibilities and facility responsibilities, such as providing food for volunteers during the weekend build.
Each project offers a great fundraising opportunity to both the facility and to RTR4C. For the facility, the project helps raise awareness about the site and highlights additional funding needs for operations, staffing, and maintenance. For RTR4C, each project showcases RTR4C’s efforts and provides the organization the opportunity to educate a community about under-resourced facilities in need of rocking. Through a cooperative fundraising campaign that includes events, dedications, and sponsorships (among other strategies), RTR4C and the facility raise funds to cover the cost of the project and provide additional general operating support to both parties. The fundraising campaign runs throughout the project.
In order to align the renovation with the site’s needs, RTR4C’s lead designers visit the facility to create the initial design plan. Over the course of the site visit, RTR4C designers and project coordinators elicit ideas and feedback from the facility point person, the hospital director, head nurse, nursing staff, patients, and families. Following the site visit, the lead designer develops a storyboard. The individuals who comprise the facility’s decision-making team then vote to accept or reject the storyboard. If the storyboard is rejected, the lead designer will draft a revised version that incorporates the team’s feedback—a process that continues until design plan consensus is reached. RTR4C’s collaborative process ensures that the facility receives beautiful rooms that meet the needs of the patients and families, as well as on-site nurses, physicians, and staff. With an approved storyboard, the lead designer outlines the type and quantity of materials needed to execute the project.
RTR4C’s strong relationships with key vendors allows RTR4C to keep project costs low without sacrificing on quality. RTR4C has existing partnerships with Home Depot, Art.com, Cutting Edge Stencils, and Behr Painting for in-kind donations of free and discounted supplies. As site-specific needs arise, RTR4C partners with other national and local vendors, ensuring every project has the materials and support needed to be successful.
For each project, RTR4C identifies effective volunteers who have participated in past projects to serve as lead volunteers during the weekend build. These lead volunteers, in partnership with the local project coordinator, recruit and organize the volunteer team. For each project, special consideration is paid to recruit local designers as volunteers who have the necessary artistic and creative skill-set to create unique and truly inspiring spaces.
Based on the number of rooms being rocked, RTR4C determines the appropriate number of volunteers and skill-set levels needed to staff the various shifts over the weekend. Generally, projects start near the end of the day on Friday and end Sunday evening. The schedule is purposeful so as not to disrupt the lives of patients, families, and health care professionals.
In one weekend, RTR4C designers, artists, and volunteers transform a chemotherapy treatment facility into a healing environment that provides comfort to individuals who are affected by cancer. The transformation begins late afternoon on Friday, when all furniture is removed and items are taken off the walls. Lead volunteers direct the transformation by teaching volunteers how to perform artistic tasks such as painting and stenciling. To create a more pleasant environment, lighting fixtures are added to brighten up the room and the uncomfortable furniture is replaced. Volunteers also add decorative additions to the rooms including paintings, mirrors, curtains, small plants, and books. Through this collaborative community effort, the chemotherapy treatment facility evolves into a beautiful, healing environment.
On the Monday following the weekend build, the volunteers, patients, families, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and community members gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the newly-rocked facility.