Clinic Visits - Guide for New Patients

Helpful Tips for New Patients in the Oncology Clinic

Our goal is to call all new patients with a supportive and informative phone call from a Hope & Cope representative. If you would like to receive this call, please phone 514‑340‑8222, ext. 25531. (Hope & Cope is a non-profit organization that helps people cope with cancer by providing psychosocial support and practical resources to help them gain a sense of control and well-being.)

SOME TIPS IF YOU ARE SEEING AN ONCOLOGIST (a doctor who specializes in cancer) FOR THE FIRST TIME:

  • It would be helpful to have someone accompany you to your appointment and act as “another pair of ears”. [! COVID-19] During the pandemic, someone can join you in person only in exceptional circumstances. Instead, you are encouraged to have a family member participate in the appointment via phone or video. 

  • Bring paper and a pen to take notes. 

  • Ask for less or more information than the oncologist is prepared to provide. It all depends on how much you feel comfortable receiving at any one time.

  • Make a list of questions for your doctor. Someone might be able to help you prepare this list.

  • Prioritize your questions, starting with the most important, in case time for your visit is limited. Separate your list into two categories: questions you absolutely need to have answered at this visit, and questions that can wait until another visit.

  • There are no “stupid” questions. Feel free to ask anything on any subject.

  • It might be helpful for you to read some background information about your diagnosis and proposed treatment. Hope & Cope's library is a good starting point, with a selection of books and pamphlets. [! COVID-19] During the pandemic, the library is closed. However, its services are available online. Please contact Hope & Cope at 514-340-8222, ext. 25531, or click  hereto learn more. 

  • Everyone has their own way of absorbing information, so choose the one that works best for you. For example you can ask your doctor or nurse to make notes of the key points, or to draw you a diagram, or to record the session. If you want to make a recording of your meeting, ask permission first. 

  • Ask your pharmacist for a list of the medications you are taking (including all vitamins, natural products, herbs, etc.) and give it to your doctor. Bring a list of any other medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes or allergies. 

  • As part of your treatment, you may be asked to participate in a research study. You are not obligated to agree, but your involvement would be appreciated. Before agreeing, be sure you understand what you will be asked to do.

  • Continue to see your family doctor for any problems that are not related to your cancer. 

  • Keep a diary or list of:
    • all appointments and treatments 

    • the information you receive during your visit with the oncologist

    • medications/doses and dates

  • You may need other tests, such as scans, x-rays and blood work. This is all part of the normal preparation that each person experiences, and it will be arranged by the receptionist in the Oncology Department. To save your energy, ask whether you might have some of these tests on the same day. 

  • On the day of your treatment, try not to schedule any other appointments. Sometimes the clinic runs late, so your visit may take longer than expected.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, medical staff, etc. 

HELPFUL TIPS FOR BEFORE STARTING TREATMENT – THE DAY OF YOUR FIRST TREATMENT  

 

  • Bring an enjoyable book or headphones with relaxing music to help pass the time while you are waiting for treatment or actually receiving treatment. 

  • If possible, see your dentist before you start your treatment. Some treatments can lower your body’s ability to fight infection, dental work can increase risk of infection.

  • Treatments can make you feel tired. Try to fill up your freezer with food for those days.

  • On the day of your first treatment, you will meet a nurse who will explain your treatment plan, possible side effects, and offer advice. You will be given a list of emergency phone numbers, in case you have any problems outside regular clinic hours. A member of your nursing team will be available for questions or concerns between clinic visits.

  • In normal circumstances, you will be served lunch around 12:15 p.m. on your treatment days. [! COVID-19] During the pandemic, no food will be served. Please bring a bag lunch and snack with you, including a drink. 

Blood tests are usually conducted on the day before your treatment in the Oncology Department on the 7th floor of Pavilion E. If you have a central line (a catheter that is placed in a large vein) your blood tests are done on the 8th floor.>

  • In the treatment room, you will receive a pillow and blanket for your chair, and, you can close the curtain to take a nap or for privacy. 

  • Remember that each person’s situation is different and each case is unique. Two people with the same type of cancer may have different treatment plans.

  • Take time for yourself and spend time with your family. Do what makes you feel good.

  • Do not bring any valuables when you come for your treatment. 

GENERAL TIPS FOR COPING

What you’ll find below are simply suggestions. Eventually, you’ll figure out which of them are helpful. Feel free to develop your own routines, since coping is a very personal matter.

Seek social support

  • Develop your relationships.

  • Participate in group therapy, where you can talk with others who may be feeling the same as you.

  • Avoid isolating or closing yourself off.

  • Join a “Look Good, Feel Better” workshop. Click  here (https://lgfb.ca/en/workshop/register-workshop) for more information.

Distract yourself with various activities

  • Use humour to lighten your mood.

  • As much as possible, carry on with your usual routines and work. As best you can, stay involved in activities that matter to you.

Get involved

  • Take an active role in restoring your health.

  • Get information about your diagnosis and treatment.

Consider your spiritual needs

  • Explore your beliefs.

  • You may be among those who find peace and comfort through spirituality.

HEMATOLOGY AND ONCOLOGY CLINIC DIRECTORY

Important numbers and locations

Pavilion E, 7th and 8th floors

Resource

Location

Phone number

Reception – Oncology Clinic

Room E-776.2

514 340-8248

Reception – Oncology Treatment

Room E-884

514 340-8222, ext. 25529

Reception – Pulmonary Oncology

E-1055 

514 340-8225, ext. 23030

Blood Testing

E-778

N/A

Hope & Cope

E-730.1

514 340-8255

Hope & Cope Wellness Centre

4635, Ch. Côte Sainte-Catherine

514-340-3616

Pharmacy

Room E-881

514 340-8222, ext. 25940

Nurses’ Office

E-884

514 340-8222, poste 25529

If an Infirmière pivot/Nurse Navigator in Oncology (IPO) is assigned to you, that person will give you his/her direct phone number.

YOUR ONCOLOGY TEAM

Many professionals are available to help you, including specialized nurses, social workers, pharmacists, dieticians, Hope & Cope and community services. Many of these roles are explained below.

DIETICIAN

The dietician will help you meet your nutritional needs. While receiving treatment, if you experience any side effects that could affect your appetite, digestion or weight, please contact the nurse. He/she will arrange for a referral to a dietician. Well-nourished patients have a better tolerance for cancer treatment and they seem to recover more quickly from the side effects. The dietician can work with you to:

  • assess your dietary needs

  • help you maintain good nutritional status and weight control

HOPE & COPE

Office at the Jewish General Hospital: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wellness Centre: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (and some evenings).

[! COVID-19] Due to the pandemic, Hope & Cope’s services are only available virtually. Please call 514-340-8222, ext. 25531, or visit the website  here (http://www.hopeandcope.ca/) to learn more and request support.  

Hope & Cope offers a wide variety of volunteer-based support and information programs for cancer patients and their families. These include peer mentoring (phone buddy), coping skills classes (The Art of Coping), support groups, after-treatment programs, hospital visits and community referrals. On the 7th floor of Pavillion E you can also find our library and our boutique, where we provide wigs, turbans, scarves and prostheses free of charge. Hope & Cope also has special programs for young adults and for families with young children. Its Wellness Centre, within walking distance of the hospital , offers free programs, such as yoga, art, relaxation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, a gym and many other courses to help you and your family/caregivers through this journey. Hope & Cope is there for you. Its  website ( www.hopeandcope.ca) features a monthly calendar, as well as listings of upcoming lectures and events.

  • Please call or email Hinda Goodman about anything that interests you, or even if you just want to talk:  hgoodman@jgh.mcgill.ca, 514-340-8222, ext. 25531.

McGILL CENTRE FOR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH

This centre gives you an opportunity to participate in early-phase clinical research. Patients are referred by their oncologists when this involvement is clinically indicated. More information can be found on its  website (www.mcgill.ca/translational-research-cancer/).

NURSE

The Segal Cancer Centre has a comprehensive nursing care team whose members specialize in cancer care. The team is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in person, on a visual platform or by phone. The nursing care team includes Infirmières pivots/Nurse Navigators in Oncology (IPO), oncology nurse clinicians and nurse practitioners, who work closely with the other healthcare professionals on your care team (those in hospital and in the community). Together, they provide you with the best care possible. You will meet a nurse each time you come to the clinic for treatment. Nurse clinicians are also available to you on the Symptom Management Hotline, at 514-340-8222, ext. 25529 (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday).

You might be assigned an Infirmière pivot/Nurse Navigator in Oncology (IPO), depending on your needs, type of cancer and diagnosis. The IPO helps guide you throughout your experience with cancer by assessing you needs and symptoms, providing information, teaching, offering support and coordinating your care within the healthcare system.

The nursing team can also provide you with teaching, counselling and support. The nurse’s role includes:

  • evaluating the impact of the illness on you and your family

  • explaining and providing information about your treatment (chemotherapy/immunotherapy), possible side effects, and how to take care of symptoms related to the illness or medications (e.g., nausea, vomiting, fever, pain, constipation, diarrhea)

  • administering your treatment (chemotherapy/immunotherapy) and/or medications

  • following up to determine how you are coping physically and emotionally

  • responding to your varying needs by consulting with or referring you to other healthcare professionals (e.g., dietician, Hope & Cope, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, supportive care team, CLSC)

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST (OT)

The OT helps you resume the activities of daily living through rehabilitation.

OMBUDSMAN

The ombudsman is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 514‑340-8222, ext. 24222, or via email at:  ombudsman.CCOMTL@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

It is essential for JGH patients to be able to voice their dissatisfaction and to comment in a confidential manner about the care they have received. To do so: 

  • First speak with a member of your healthcare team, who will try to correct the problem or find a solution to the matter you have raised. Depending on the circumstances, the team member may direct you to the appropriate person.

  • If the problem persists, contact the Office of the Commissioner of Complaints and Quality of Service at the phone number above or at ombudsman.ccomtl@ssss.gouv.qc.ca. 

More information about the complaint process is available  here .

ONCOLOGIST

Hematologists and oncologists are doctors who specialize in cancer and determine the type of treatment you may need to follow. They will examine you and explain your treatment. Throughout treatment, they will perform follow-ups with you; they will also follow you once your treatment has ended.They see patients by appointment in their clinic from Monday to Friday.

PHARMACIST

Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The pharmacist works with the oncology team to make sure you receive the drugs that are used in your treatment, help you manage side effects, and provide you with information about your treatment. Pharmacists also counsel patients about drug-related matters, such as chemotherapy, side effects, drug interactions, pain management and symptom control. In addition, they dispense the drugs that are ordered by the doctor for your treatment.

PHYSIOTHERAPIST

The physiotherapist can help you perform exercises to strengthen the muscles that are affected by surgery, treatment or the disease itself.

PSYCHOLOGIST / PSYCHIATRIST

If you are having a hard time dealing with your diagnosis and/or treatment, the services of a psychologist and psychiatrist are available to you. Your nurse, doctor or social worker can make the necessary referrals.

RECEPTIONIST

Among the tasks that the receptionist performs is making appointments for tests (such as x-rays and scans) and follow-up visits. You must check in with the receptionist when you arrive for an appointment of any kind at the clinic. They do not provide any medical test results. If you are having a medical problem, do not speak with the receptionist; instead, talk with your nurse.

ONCOLOGY CLINIC FOR SENIORS

This special program is designed to serve the needs of older adults with cancer.

SOCIAL WORKER

Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 514-340-8240

The social worker helps to boost the strength of individuals or family members as they cope with the stresses caused by cancer. Through counselling, and by linking with hospital and community resources, they support you and your family/caregiver.

STUDY COORDINATOR

Some patients may participate in a clinical trial or research study, which is coordinated by a data manager. This person provides instructions about such matters as follow-up appointments and the scheduling of tests.

SUPPORTIVE CARE TEAM (S.C.T.) / Palliative Care

The objective of the Palliative Care/Supportive Care team is to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients. The team helps manage your symptoms throughout the cancer trajectory, and not only during end-of-life care. The S.C.T. specializes in controlling pain and symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, constipation) and offering emotional support to you and your family/caregiver. The S.C.T. stays in contact with you by phone (when you’re at home), in the hematology/oncology clinics, and when you’re admitted to the hospital. Your nurse can refer you to this team.

YOUNG ADULT PROGRAM

This special program serves adolescents and young adults with cancer.

SYMPTOM TIP SHEETS

COMING SOON.

SYMPTOM HOTLINE

The Symptom Management Hotline at the Jewish General Hospital allows patients who are experiencing side effects to contact our cancer care nurses between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Symptom Management Hotline nurse will assess you over the phone and develop a care plan for the symptoms you are experiencing. Please call immediately if you have a fever over 38°C (100.4°F), taken by mouth.

Treating cancer with chemotherapy can lead to a number of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, weakness, fatigue, skin reactions and problems in the digestive system. These can be quite severe and they often lead to visits to the Emergency Department. If you experience side effects related to your treatment, please call the Hotline as soon as possible to help avoid a trip to the hospital. In many cases, all it takes is a phone call.

 If, for any reason, you must visit the Emergency Department, please remember the following: 

  • Tell the triage nurse you are a cancer patient. 

  • Provide the name of your oncologist. Mention whether the on-call oncologist/hematologist directed you to the Emergency Department. 

  • Bring a list of your medications, including the type of cancer treatment you are receiving. 

LINKS TO EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS

  1. Introduction to the  JGH Segal Cancer Centre

  2.  Virtual Tour of the Segal Cancer Centre

  3.  Guide to chemotherapy

  4.  Guide to immunotherapy

  5.  Guide to cancer nutrition

  6.  Information about COVID-19 and cancer

  7.  Coping during COVID-19

  8.  Guide to radiation therapy(Note: This video may not apply to you. Please check with your healthcare professional):

NOTE: All of the Precare videos are available in 18+ languages. Simply click on the “CC” button on the bottom right of the screen and choose the language:

Other Resources:

HOPE & COPE’S SERVICES

Supporting patients and their families throughout the cancer journey

Why me? What now? These are just some of the questions after cancer is diagnosed. Hope & Cope’s cancer-experienced volunteers, supervised by members of the professional staff, offer a wide variety of bilingual programs and services free of charge to patients and their families. These services are available at the Jewish General Hospital (in Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Palliative Care) and at the JGH Hope & Cope Wellness Centre.

[! COVID-19] During the pandemic, many of services are offered online. Click  here for the calendar.

  • Cancer Exercise and Rehabilitation Program – physical evaluations and individualized exercise programs

  • Clinic volunteers (Oncology, Radiation Oncology) support you while you receive treatment.

  • Creative therapies, including choir, art, jewellery-making and more

  • En famille – a program for families with children up to age 18, in which a parent has cancer

  • Energy work – Reiki, etc.

  • Library – books, pamphlets

  • Look Good, Feel Better – workshops on skin care, make-up techniques and head coverings

  • Nutrition lectures, cooking classes and interactive workshops

  • Palliative care and bereavement – including mentors and support groups

  • Peer mentoring – linking you with a volunteer who underwent a similar cancer experience

  • Professional assessment and referrals

  • Relaxation, meditation and physical activities, such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi and dance

  • Support groups for general and specific cancers

  • The Art of Coping – workshops that teach problem-solving and stress management

  • Transitional programs, such as Focus on the Future, to help you move forward after treatment

  • Wigs, turbans and scarves

  • Young adult program (ages 18 to 39) – Cancer FightClub community, retreats and support

Hope & Cope – Main Office
3755 Côte-Saint-Catherine Road
Room E-730.1 (Pavilion E, 7th floor)
Montreal, QC H3T 1E2
514-340-8255
 www.lespoircestlavie.ca

Hope & Cope Wellness Centre 
4635 Côte-Saint-Catherine Road
(Corner Lavoie)
Montreal, QC H3W 1M1
514-340-3616
 hopecope@jgh.mcgill.ca

Map

[! COVID-19] The only entrances open are the main entrance on Cote-Sainte-Catherine Road and Pavilion K on Legare street

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION 

New government regulations allow for free parking for the first 2 hours in the underground parking lot beneath Pavilion K. After 2 hours, the rates are:

  • $6 for 2 to 4 hours

  • $10 for 4 to 24 hours

If you are receiving treatment or are seeing a doctor, and if you park for more than 4 hours, ask the receptionist on the 8th floor whether you are eligible for a $7 parking voucher.

You can buy a parking pass from Safeway Parking for $60 for 30 consecutive days.

The parking office is in Pavilion K, main floor, near the security desk just inside the entrance.

Hope & Cope may be able to help you find community or private driving resources. Please see Hinda Goodman in room E-730.1 (Pavilion E) or contact her at 514-340-8222, ext. 25531.

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