Frequently Asked Questions

Below is information about COVID-19 that is specific to patients and visitors of the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario.  For all general information about COVID-19 from Kingston Health Sciences Centre, please click here.

Questions (updated June 12, 2020):

  1. Is my clinic appointment at the Cancer Centre cancelled?
  2. I am receiving radiation treatments. What do I do?
  3. I have an appointment at the Ontario Breast Screening Clinic. Is it cancelled?
  4. Will my cancer surgery be cancelled? 
  5. How much medication should I keep on hand in case I can’t go to the clinic or pharmacy to pick up more?
  6. What are you doing to protect us from possible infection when we come for a visit?
  7. What can I do to prevent getting infected?
  8. As a patient on cancer treatment, should I wear a face mask?
  9. As a patient on cancer treatment, is it safe for me to go to work?
  10. As a patient on cancer treatment, is it safe for me to go outside?
  11. Is the George Street entrance to the Cancer Centre closed? How do I get in for my appointment?
  12. Can I still bring my family member to their appointment?
  13. I can’t get through on the phone. What do I do?
  14. My friend/family member is an inpatient on a cancer unit. Can I still visit?
  15. I am concerned I might have COVID-19. Should I go to a COVID-19 assessment centre?
  16. I am participating in a cancer clinical trial. Will my clinical trial still continue?
  17. I receive my care at a satellite site. Do these answers apply to me?
  18. I am a caregiver of a patient. Where can I go to the washroom while I wait for my loved one to complete their appointment?
  19. Why are you screening patients and caregivers at the entrance?

 

Answers:

 1. Is my clinic appointment at the Cancer Centre cancelled?

We are reducing the number of elective surgeries, non-emergency procedures and clinic visits we provide in order to prioritize services during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have an upcoming procedure which needs to be rescheduled, your care team will contact you.

Appointments that are impacted have been carefully reviewed by the care team and determined to be safe for postponement. These appointments will be re-booked when we’re safely able to expand the number of visits to the Cancer Centre. If you have questions on the status of your appointment please contact your doctor’s office at the Cancer Centre.

2. I am receiving radiation treatments. What do I do?

Your radiation appointments will continue as scheduled.

3. I have an appointment at the Ontario Breast Screening Clinic. Is it cancelled?

Yes. You will be contacted by the care team to have your appointment rescheduled for a later date. If you have any questions about screening during this time, please contact screening@cancercare.on.ca

4. Will my cancer surgery be cancelled? 

Time-sensitive care for certain cancers will continue to be provided. Your surgeon’s office will contact you if your upcoming surgery is impacted by circumstances beyond our control. We will make every effort to have your surgery done as quickly as possible.

5. How much medication should I keep on hand in case I can’t go to the clinic or pharmacy to pick up more?

Pharmacies are an essential service and will continue to be available to meet patient medication needs. At this time, it is not necessary to request additional refill quantities. The previous 30-day dispensing restriction was lifted on June 15, meaning pharmacists may once again dispense up to a maximum of 100 days supply of medications as directed by the prescriber. 

If you need your prescription delivered, please ask your dispensing pharmacy about delivery options.

If you are running low on your prescription medication please ask your dispensing pharmacy to fax a refill request.

6. What are you doing to protect us from possible infection when we come for a visit?

We are taking many precautions, including limiting the number of people on-site and restricting access to the Cancer Centre. We are working closely with our Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) team to ensure the best practices are maintained to protect our patients, visitors and staff. This includes cleaning surfaces by the protocols recommended by IPC, limiting visitors, having active screening in place for symptoms of COVID-19 at all entrances and using the proper personal protective equipment (like masks and gowns) when needed.

7. What can I do to prevent getting infected?

Like all members of the general public you should do your best to avoid infection. This includes:

  • Avoiding crowded public places
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water (20 to 30 sec)
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoiding others who are unwell
  • Staying home whenever possible

Patients on chemotherapy or who have had a stem cell transplantation may need to take further precautions such as making efforts to minimize trips out of the house (e.g. consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social or commercial networks).

8. As a patient on cancer treatment, should I wear a face mask?

Yes. You will be required to wear a face mask when you are attending an appointment at the Cancer Centre. We are providing homemade masks for you to wear when you enter the building. Click here for more information about wearing a mask.

9. As a patient on cancer treatment, is it safe for me to go to work? 

Social distancing is recommended for our patients to limit the risk of acquiring COVID-19. This includes limiting crowded and closed spaces — such as a crowded bus or train, movie theaters, malls, sporting arenas, restaurants, etc. Read about additional measures you can take to practice social distancing here

If work puts you in close contact with other people (i.e. healthcare, retail service), it is recommended that you not be at work if you can at all avoid it.  If possible, work remotely from home.

10. As a patient on cancer treatment, is it safe for me to go outside and get exercise?

Cancer patients on treatment may also be at an increased risk of blood clots and other complications from lack of movement.  Staying active during this time is important, and at the current time you can still leave home. You may plan to take walks around the neighborhood (keeping more than two meters away from others) and go grocery shopping during off-peak hours if it cannot be done by someone else. If you do your own grocery shopping make sure you bring your own grocery bags, disinfect cart handles, and wash hands or use hand sanitizer after using the cart. The most important action you can take to protect yourself is prevention; washing your hands often is critical.

11. Is the George Street entrance to the Cancer Centre closed? How do I get in for my appointment?

Yes, the George Street entrance to the Cancer Centre is closed. All patients are to use the Burr 0 main entrance, located at 25 King Street West, to enter and exit the Cancer Centre. There is active screening in place at this entrance.

12. Who can come with me to my appointment?

It is crucial that we keep our patients and workforce as safe as possible. To help us do this, we are limiting all visitors – including family members of patients – to the Cancer Centre. You may be able to use technology to have your family listen or be ‘virtually’ present for an appointment, but please inform your treating physician.  Click here to learn more about virtual visits and how you can arrange a virtual visit.

Ambulatory cancer patients who require assistance may be accompanied by one adult caregiver. This caregiver will also undergo screening at the entrance to the Cancer Centre and only permitted to enter if they pass the screening process. However, no visitors will be allowed in the systemic treatment unit. If you are an approved visitor you may wait for your loved one in the waiting room.

Patient drivers are not permitted to enter the building with the patient. If you have a driver, please ensure you have made arrangements so they are aware when your appointment has finished and you are ready to leave.

13. I can’t get through on the phone. What do I do?

If you have a medical emergency please hang up and dial 911 or proceed to your nearest Emergency Department. 

If this is not a medical emergency, please know that we are experiencing a high volume of calls at this time. We understand that this is frustrating at this uncertain time and appreciate your patience as our staff work to answer questions and return calls.

If you are a patient on active treatment and experiencing a symptom after 4pm and require immediate assistance please call CAREChart@home at 1-877-681-3057 to speak to a specialized cancer care nurse.  

If you have general questions about COVID-19 please visit Public Health here or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

14. My friend/family member is an in-patient on a cancer unit. Can I still visit?

As of May 27, one essential family member may be identified by each inpatient as their designated family member for the duration of their stay. This designated family member must be registered by the patient’s clinical unit and will be required to show ID at the hospital entrance. Please note that this only applies to admitted inpatients, and not patients receiving ambulatory or outpatient care at the Cancer Centre. 

NEW: Odd or Even Day Visits Based on Floor Number. In order to limit the number of people in the hospital on a daily basis, family members of patients on even-numbered floors will be allowed to visit on even-numbered days and vice versa for odd-numbered floors and days. For example, a patient on Connell 9 would be able to have their essential family member visit them on June 1, 3, 5, etc. 

While we know you want to support your loved one, we strongly suggest you consider rescheduling your visit or turning it into a virtual visit if possible. Click here to learn more about virtual visits and how you can arrange a virtual visit.

Access to the Kingston General Hospital site is restricted to the main entrance, located at 76 Stuart Street, and you will be screened for symptoms upon arrival. 

15. I am concerned I might have COVID-19. Should I go to a COVID-19 assessment centre?

No. Please do not visit the recently opened public COVID-19 assessment centres.

If you have a fever or other symptoms of infection and are on cancer treatment, go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you are not on cancer treatment and are experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19 please contact your doctor’s office immediately between 8 am and 4 pm. 

If you are a patient on active treatment and experiencing symptoms after 4pm and require immediate assistance please call CAREChart@home at 1-877-681-3057 to speak to a specialized cancer care nurse.  

If you are not on active treatment and have questions about COVID-19 please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

16. I am participating in a cancer clinical trial. Will my clinical trial still continue?

Cancer clinical trial participants on active treatment will continue to be treated as directed by your Study Investigator (treating cancer physician). Please ensure that you identify as a ‘Cancer Research Study Participant’ and present your study participant wallet card to all healthcare professionals while you are receiving study treatment.

If you are a study participant on follow-up for the research study, your follow-up will be done over the phone. The research team and staff will be contacting you directly to arrange this. If questionnaires need to be completed, they will be mailed to you one week in advance. A return self-stamped envelope will be provided to return completed questionnaires.

If you have any questions or concerns related to your clinical trial, please contact the research study staff listed on your wallet card or email CC-ClinicalTrials@KingstonHSC.ca

17. I receive my care at a satellite site. Do these answers apply to me?

All satellite sites are taking similar precautions as the Cancer Centre on limiting access, restricting the number of visitors at their hospital, and screening at entrance points. However, we strongly encourage you to speak with staff at the specific site on their practices.  Otherwise, as a patient receiving cancer treatment, all of the recommendations above still apply to you.

18. I am a caregiver of a patient. Where can I go to the washroom while I wait for my loved one to complete their appointment?

We currently have a restricted family presence policy in place, which means many caregivers will be unable to enter the Cancer Centre with their loved one. To help make the wait more comfortable we have installed portable washrooms outside the Cancer Centre main entrance, located at 25 King Street West. These washrooms can be accessed during daytime outpatient hours and will be cleaned daily.

19. Why are you screening patients and caregivers at the entrance?

We are proactively screening everyone who enters our Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital sites. Screening helps us quickly identify patients and staff who have signs and symptoms or are at risk of having a COVID-19 infection. Please also come a few minutes early for your scheduled procedure or appointment as it takes a few minutes to go through the screening process when you enter. 

Please bring a mask with you for your appointment.  If you do not have a mask, we will give you will be provided with a mask and you can go to your appointment. 

Support persons who answer yes to any of the questions are not permitted to enter the building. 

To see the screening questions that you can expect to be asked, please click here. Please review these questions 24 hours before each appointment and if you answer yes to any of these questions, please call your cancer care team immediately.  Your cancer care team will talk about your care choices with you.