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Designing Comfort for Long-Term Cancer Patients


Finding long-term, affordable housing while seeking cancer treatment away from home is a significant challenge. With some treatments lasting weeks, if not months, the long-term cost of hotels and lack of the comforts of home are both unaffordable and unbearable for many when combined with the side effects of their treatments. To help adult patients and their caregivers, the American Cancer Society founded the Sandra J. Schulze Hope Lodge in 1980 to provide guest accommodations free of charge. Private bedrooms and l­­iving spaces offer a retreat while communal kitchens and dining areas provide an opportunity to develop a sense of community.

Having access to a full kitchen is important to cancer patients and their caregivers as treatment is often accompanied by changes in appetite and nausea. Treatments may include dietary restrictions that are not readily accommodated by neighboring restaurants, the expense of dining out may become unaffordable, and guests may simply not feel up to venturing out into public. Being able to make meals is a boon to the guests of Hope Lodge. Having these comforts of home designed into the private and public spaces play a significant role in the success of cancer treatments.


Widseth, along with Knutson Construction, worked with the American Cancer Society to renovate kitchen and dining areas in phases to minimize disruptions for the guests. The recently updated kitchens include ample open shelving and storage for guests to store their food directly adjacent to multiple kitchens. Guests and caregivers can make meals on their own schedules without worrying about interfering with other guests’ food prep.

Open dining areas are connected creating a large communal gathering space while at the same time offering privacy for those who prefer it.

The phased renovations will carry on with other kitchens and dining spaces to be updated. The Widseth team looks forward to continuing to work with the American Cancer Society and Hope Lodge, bringing convenience and comfort to future guests.

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