Singer Island spa offers services for cancer patients

A Singer Island spa has found its niche catering to cancer patients in need of respite.

In addition to its normal menu of spa packages, SiSpa at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island has carefully crafted a variety of services, called Comfort Care Classics, designed to rejuvenate those who are either receiving cancer treatment or have recently completed it.

The spa’s staff underwent special training last year, learning how to properly position cancer patients, handle medical ports and apply pressure during massages and other treatments.

“The idea is to help our guests feel like guests, and not like patients,” Spa Director Pat Dutcher said. “Once they are ready and able to come and see us, we want to give them a spa day. … We are here for the guests. We want to create an incredible, award-winning, relaxing, beautiful experience for them.”

Dutcher said beauty products used as part of the services were carefully selected. Most have very mild scents, since chemotherapy and cancer treatments can heighten the sense of smell. The staff also uses products that re-hydrate the skin, work as a natural anti-inflammatory, and promote hair growth to help offset the side effects of cancer treatments.

“We are very cognizant of choosing the right products,” Dutcher said.

The Colorado-based Wellness for Cancer specializes in training spa employees around the world on how to properly provide services for cancer patients. Dutcher said she decided to have her staff undergo the training at Wellness after learning about the program during a meeting last year of the Florida Spa Association.

The program includes includes 16 hours of online coursework and a full day of hands-on training, Dutcher said.

“Every single staff member was excited about it and wanted to participate it in,” Dutcher said. “Cancer in one way has touched us all.”

Services range from a 40-minute manicure for $45 to a 50-minute massage, facial or dilo wrap, which each cost $115. Caregivers receive a 20 percent discount off regular services.

Palm Beach Gardens resident Marjorie Keegan said the Dutcher’s staff was “completely prepared” when she booked a spa day this month for her ailing father, Frank Pulice.

A father-daughter spa day had been on Pulice’s bucket list, and with his health declining Keegan wanted to make sure he got his wish.

“He called and said, ‘I’ve never had a spa day,’ ” Keegan said. “I called and made a reservation. When we got there, the whole hotel stopped for 20 minutes to assist him with this endeavor.”

Keegan had a facial, while her father got a pedicure and a hot stone treatment on his back.

“They were so overly accommodating,” Keegan said. “Even the second he had a chill, they came with a hot blanket.”

After they were finished at the spa, they had lunch overlooking the ocean at the beachfront hotel.

“That was one of the last times that he was really coherent and really here and with us,” said Keegan, whose father died Monday.

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