Andrea Paciello, executive director of Radiation Oncology at the Mass General Cancer Center, was 15 years old when she was first discharged from Mass General after being treated for bone cancer. She arrived home to find 1,000 yellow daffodils sent to her from her father’s colleagues. Despite being severely ill from treatments, Andrea explains, “It sounds silly, but those flowers gave me the hope I needed at that moment.”
Andrea’s own cancer experience has helped her to bring both creativity and compassion to her role as the Mass General Cancer Center’s executive director of Radiation Oncology. Andrea led the effort to start up hospital operations throughout the new Lunder Building, making sure that patients and staff were prepared for the transition and that care continued to be delivered safely. Among her contributions, she secured approval for expanded proton therapy services to meet patients’ needs and initiated a Customer Service Council, led by front-line staff, as well as other forums for teams to improve upon the patient experience.
On the 20th anniversary of her initial cancer diagnosis, Andrea was inspired to re-create the role flowers played in her recovery for those patients currently being treated at the Cancer Center. Andrea launched “Floral Therapy” sessions, which offer patients pre- or post-relief treatment through the creation of a bright and beautiful floral arrangements to take home or give to another patient.
“The floral therapy sessions lighten the spirits of our patients and families,” says Katie Mannix, RN, MSN, nursing director of the Department of Radiation Oncology. “And their finished arrangements become cherished gifts to patients and their loved ones.” Andrea reflects, “I remember how much joy and hope those 1,000 daffodils brought to me. I see that same joy and hope now through this program.”