Marin General Hospital Chemotherapy Suites Transformed

Marin General Hospital Chemotherapy Suites Transformed

Local Nonprofit, Volunteers and Designers create a “vision of tranquility” for patients, family, and nurses

GREENBRAE, CA — Four chemotherapy suites, a family room and nurses station at Marin General Hospital have received a complete makeover, with the help of Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo (RTR4C)a nonprofit that connects local interior designers with hospitals and clinics that dispense chemotherapy. 

Patients and nurses alike are delighted with the new look of the rooms.

Patients love it,” says Faranak Haghighi, a nurse in Outpatient Infusion. “One of the most frequent comments is, ‘I feel like I am at home.’ Everyone is so much more relaxed in this setting.”

That’s precisely the aim of the program to transform chemotherapy suites, the brainchild of artist Nancy Ballard, founder and president of RTR4C. After seeing some dreary chemo rooms in a San Francisco doctor’s office, she was inspired to donate a few of her botanical paintings to brighten up the rooms. The next day Ms. Ballard went a step further, sending out invitations to 20 local designers asking them to commit to redesign the rooms from floor to ceiling, free of charge. Within two days, four designers said yes.

Since May 2011, RTR4C has overseen the redesign of 99 rooms across the US and El Salvador; rooms that have subsequently been used for 150,000 patient visits. Ms. Ballard says that she now has a waiting list of designers willing to donate their work, and a long list of vendors who will provide materials. Anyone can nominate a hospital or clinic for the service.

With the interior designers and their assistants donating their time and expertise to create a vision for the rooms, Marin General Hospital Foundation helped fund the project to redecorate the Outpatient Oncology suites with new furniture, lighting, paint and artwork. The design team worked tirelessly over the course of one weekend to turn the rooms from drab to restorative, invigorating spaces. Two members of the hospital staff were also on hand to pick up a paintbrush or hold a ladder when needed. “The whole project was really a collaborative effort and the transformation was amazing,” says Noelle Lutz of Marin General HospitalFacilities Planning.

“We ask each designer to create a space that is their vision of tranquility,” says Ms. Ballard. “Rooms should be peaceful, calm, soothing oases. The results have been amazing; patients, families and nurses are thrilled. One nurse told us, ‘When I sit at my desk it will be like looking at heaven!’”

Participating designers in the Marin General Hospital project were Shelly Pintabona of VMI architecture, Inc.; Kelly Berg of Arte Styling; Ashley Roi Jenkins of Ashley Roi Jenkins Design; Michele Dugan of Red Studio LLC; Marsha Heckman;  Rachel Gingold, Moonline Arts; JoAnn Hartley of JoAnn Hartley Interior Design; and Kristi Sanford of Kristi Sanford Interiors.

About RoomsThatRock4Chemo

Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo is a volunteer organization operating through contributions, in-kind donations, and proceeds from fund-raising events. They do not receive state or federal funding and are solely dependent on contributions from the community, individuals and corporations

To volunteer or donate funds or materials, please contact Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo

About Marin General Hospital

Marin General Hospital, located in Greenbrae, CA, is the only full-service, acute care hospital in Marin County. It is the only source in Marin County for many important services and programs including:

  • Designated Trauma Center – experienced multidisciplinary team specializing in providing state-of-the-art trauma care 24/7
  • Labor And Delivery Services – including a level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Full-Service Cancer Care – a nationally recognized cancer care program with survival rates exceeding the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) rates for breast and prostate cancers
  • Comprehensive Heart and Vascular Care – the County’s only vascular and heart surgery, plus sophisticated care for A-fib
  • Accredited Chest Pain Center – with a lifesaving door-to-treatment time of just 44 minutes, compared to the national average of 100 minutes
  • Inpatient Pediatric Program – 24/7 board-certified pediatricians available for inpatient and emergency care
  • Spine & Brain Institute – a single point of access to comprehensive spine and brain care, including emergency and elective brain and spine surgery
  • Certified Primary Stroke Center – that can treat all types of stroke onsite
  • Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Services – with treatment programs tailored to meet specific patient needs

For more information or a physician referral, please visit or call the Marin General Health Line at 1-888-99-MY-MGH (1-888-996-9644).