Wherever you are in your cancer journey — concerned about your risk, recently diagnosed or in remission — we’re making sure you get the care you need to fight cancer, safely.
by Rajiv Panikkar, chair of the Geisinger Cancer Institute
If you’re receiving cancer treatment right now, rest assured that we’re making sure it’s safe for you to visit your doctor’s office or hospital to get care. Protecting you is our top priority — that’s why we’ve put extra safety measures in place to keep you and your family safe when you receive care at our facilities.
Safety precautions to protect your health
You can stay safe when you come visit us for care, without compromising your treatment.
Your care may look a little different these days, however. So, let’s review what you can expect and some of the additional steps and precautions we’re taking to keep you safe.
- Enhanced screenings: We screen every person who comes into our clinics and hospitals, including our staff members. This includes screening for symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath) the day before and again at the door as well as checking temperatures, which are taken using no-contact infrared thermometers.
- Mandatory face masking: Each person who enters one of our facilities is required to wear a mask, including all patients, visitors and employees. Don’t have a mask? We’ll have one ready for you when you come in for your appointment.
- Adjusted treatment/screening schedules: We’ve adjusted treatment schedules and incorporated oral chemotherapy drugs into many treatment plans, reducing the number of in-person visits you need. If you do switch to oral chemotherapy, you’ll be closely monitored by a cancer pharmacist with regular phone calls between office visits.
- Socially distanced waiting rooms, treatment areas and exam rooms: We’ve reorganized our waiting rooms and treatment areas and expanded the space between chairs so everyone can practice physical distancing, while staying 6 feet apart.
- Limiting visitors: We’re temporarily limiting the number of visitors permitted during appointments.
- Extra cleaning measures: We’re deep-cleaning all of our care sites several times a day, following rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Prepared care teams: Our providers are wearing masks and gloves while following social distancing protocols.
- If you need surgery, it’s safe: Depending on the type, stage and location of your cancer, sometimes surgery can be postponed. However, there are times when it can’t be. If you’re newly diagnosed with cancer or your care team advises that surgery is your best path forward, know that our teams are ready. Your doctor will discuss your options with you and keep you in control of your health. Note: if you are scheduled for surgery, you’ll be tested for COVID-19 48 hours before your procedure.
Continuing your care at home
In addition to new safety measures in our clinics, you have options to see your doctor without ever leaving home.
If you’re being treated for cancer, we’ll review your situation to determine whether you should have in-person visit or if a telemedicine virtual visit is an option. If you’re doing well and have no symptoms, your doctor may reschedule your visit to a video or phone visit.
With a telemedicine visit, your doctor comes to you — virtually. If you have a computer, tablet or smartphone, you can see your oncologist in real time, safely and securely — right from the comfort of your own home.
Use your visit to discuss your health with your doctor, ask questions and address any concerns, just like you would at your regular appointments.
If you need lab work, we can arrange for blood draws at a local lab, or if needed, to be done right in your own home. We can also administer IV hydration and anti-nausea medications at home.
What if I have concerning symptoms?
If you notice a new or concerning symptom you’d like to discuss, our clinics are open for care. If you can’t get to a clinic or your doctor would rather you stay home, you may benefit from a telemedicine visit to start. Call or message your doctor to determine the best course of action.
No matter where you are in your cancer journey, we’re here to keep your care on track while keeping you safe.