A Helpful Tip Sheet ForPatients New To The Oncology Clinic
Our goal is to provide all new patients with a supportive phone call from a Hope & Cope Volunteer Navigator. This person will try to answer questions, hear your concerns, and liaise with the health care team. If you do not hear from a Volunteer Navigator, have any questions or need additional information, call Hope & Cope (514-340-8255) or come to Pavilion E730-1
FOR THOSE WAITING TO SEE AN ONCOLOGIST FOR THE FIRST TIME
- Bring a family member or friend with you to your first visit, if possible, as an “extra pair of ears”
- Ask for as little or as much information as you feel comfortable receiving at any time
- Make a list of questions for your doctor. Someone can help you prepare this list
- Prioritize your questions (most important to least) - what you need answered absolutely at this visit and what can wait for another visit if time constraints are an issue
- Take notes or have a family member or friend take them. They should also have the same list to follow as they can point out a question that may have been forgotten
- There are no "stupid" questions
- It can be helpful to do some prior research on your diagnosis and treatment. Hope & Cope's library is a good starting point with a selection of books, pamphlets, Internet information, and videos
- Everyone has one’s own way of learning; for eg., you can ask your doctor or nurse to write things down, draw you a diagram, speak into a tape recorder.(Ask your doctor for permission to tape your meeting, if you wish to do so.)
- Prepare a list for your doctor of the medication you are on presently (include all vitamins, natural products, herbs, etc…), plus any medical conditions such as diabetes or allergies
- Keep a family doctor even though you are seeing an Oncologist, for problems unrelated to your cancer diagnosis.
- Keep a diary or log
- of all appointments and treatments
- of the information received from the doctor's visit
- of all medications/doses. Record the start date as physicians may ask for this information.
- A variety of tests may be required: scans, x-rays, blood work, etc. This is all part of the normal workup for each person and will be arranged by the receptionist in Oncology. To save energy, you can try to coordinate some of these tests for the same day.
- Try not to book other things on day of your appointment to avoid feeling stressed. There can be long waiting times.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – from family, friends, medical staff, etc.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR THOSE WAITING TO START TREATMENT
- On the day of your first treatment, you will be assigned a Primary Nurse who will review your treatment plan, discuss potential side effects, offer advice, etc. You will be provided with a list of emergency contacts in the event of any problems outside regular clinic hours. Your nurse will make follow-up calls. She or other members of the team will be available to answer any concerns between clinic visits.
- See your dentist (if possible) before you start your treatment.
- Try to stock up your freezer with food for days that you may be too tired to cook.
- Bring a good book or headset with relaxing music to help pass the time when you are either waiting for treatment or having your treatment.
- You will be served lunch, around 12:15 pm, on the days that you have your treatment. Lunch is not provided for the family member or those who may be accompanying you.
- Do not bring valuables with you when you come for your treatment.
- Blood tests are done prior to your treatment, in the Oncology Department.
- Try to arrange to have someone come with you for your first treatment. Volunteers are available in the Oncology Department to offer support.
- In the treatment room, you will be provided with a pillow and blanket and you can close the curtain so you can take a nap or have privacy.
- Remember that everyone’s situation is different. Two people with the same type of cancer may have different treatment regimes. Each case is unique. Take time for yourself and family; do the things that make you feel good.
BE INFORMED ABOUT SERVICES: There are various professionals available to you: nurse, social worker, pharmacist, dietitian, Hope & Cope, community services, etc. Ask us!!