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COVID-19, cancer and CTCA: What you should know

Below are answers to common questions about COVID-19 and cancer and what we’re doing at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) to protect the safety of our patients, visitors and employees:

Patient safety at CTCA

Is CTCA® still open for patient care?

Yes, as a cancer care network taking care of cancer patients, we know that cancer does not stop for COVID-19. We are recommending that all patients with upcoming appointments contact their care teams for guidance pertaining specifically to them.

What is CTCA doing to protect its patients and staff?

We have implemented screening protocols and safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at each of our locations. As an added measure, each of our facilities has a single point of entry, with 24-hour, mandatory screening of all patients and visitors. All CTCA employees are being screened for symptoms twice a day to protect the health and safety of those providing, and those receiving, care. We also have implemented additional cleaning and disinfecting measures, and we have removed and spaced some furniture throughout each facility to comply with social-distancing practices. We are closely monitoring CDC travel recommendations and guidelines and are continuously educating and training our care providers as developments occur.

Are visitors and caregivers still allowed to come with patients to appointments?

At this time, for general outpatient appointments, we are limiting caregivers to one per patient, and no one under the age of 18 will be permitted at any site, with special exceptions in some cases. However, all caregivers and visitors will not be permitted in certain areas of the hospital, such as highly sensitive inpatient units and pre-op areas, to protect the health and safety of our patients. Please talk to your care team about whether these measures will affect you, certain exceptions that may be made and steps we’re taking to continue to keep your caregiver involved in your care.

Status of CTCA treatments and services

Is CTCA canceling all surgeries, pain procedures and medical oncology appointments?

No. We are not canceling patient appointments. Cancer does not stop for COVID-19, and treatment is critically important for our patients. While in some situations, it may be more appropriate to reschedule or convert an appointment to a telehealth visit, please know that each appointment is evaluated on an individual basis by the provider and patient.

If I want to reschedule my appointment, how far out are you rescheduling patients?

We must be thoughtful and deliberate in our decisions to reschedule patients because we don’t want to delay their care, unless necessary. If rescheduling appointments is needed, this will be discussed between the provider and patient on a case-by-case basis and an appropriate timeframe will be determined.

Is CTCA exploring telehealth opportunities?

Yes. We are actively rolling out expanded telehealth services. For example, our hospitals are offering telehealth services, when appropriate, for patients who are scheduled for face-to-face visits with a variety of doctors and clinicians, but may not require other on-site needs such as infusion treatment or special scans. With telehealth, CTCA connects patients for consultations and follow-up visits with medical oncologists and surgical oncologists, as well as doctors in a variety of other fields, including pain management and psychiatry. Patients also may be able to arrange visits with supportive care experts, including dietitians.

Are the cafes still open at the hospitals?

Yes, but our cafes are now providing Grab and Go options only. Patients and visitors are still welcome to dine in the seated areas, but to comply with social-distancing practices, there are no more than two chairs at each table and guests are asked to maintain 6 feet of distance between them.

Are salon services still available?

Not at the moment. All our on-site salons have been closed until further notice.

Are any activities being offered?

No. All activities have been postponed until further notice.

Is CTCA still offering onsite guest quarters at the hospitals?

All hospitals except CTCA Tulsa have temporarily discontinued onsite guest accommodations at this time. Instead, we are making arrangements for patients to stay in nearby, offsite lodging. This measure will enable our environmental services team to focus its efforts on additional cleaning and disinfecting of all common and clinical areas.

Traveling to CTCA

Is CTCA restricting patients from out of state?

No.

Is CTCA restricting patients from flying?

No. Cancer does not stop for COVID-19, and treatment is critically important for our patients. While in some situations, it may be more appropriate to reschedule or convert an appointment to a telehealth visit, please know that each appointment is evaluated on an individual basis by the provider and patient.

Is it safe for me to travel by plane to CTCA?

We understand that some of our patients are concerned about flying for cancer treatment or other appointments amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Because many of our patients may be at higher risk of susceptibility because of compromised immune function, we are advising patients to limit unnecessary travel to protect yourself from the virus, and when you can, travel by car instead of by plane.

If you have an upcoming appointment that requires you to fly to one our hospitals, call your CTCA care team directly. They will help you determine whether the risk-to-benefit ratio warrants you making the trip. Some appointments may be medically urgent, while we may be able to safely reschedule others for another time.

Should I be looking out for COVID-19 symptoms before I visit a CTCA hospital?

Yes, this is very important. As you travel to our centers for cancer care, please be alert that if you or the caregiver accompanying you to your appointments becomes symptomatic (fever with shortness of breath or cough or sore throat) just prior to travelling or while on your way to CTCA, you should return home and refer to your primary care physician for care. If you experience any symptoms you feel require immediate medical attention, report to the closest emergency services department or dial 911. We are taking this measure to ensure the safety and health of all our patients and their loved ones.

What can I do before my visit to CTCA if my team determines that I can travel?

If your care team determines that you should come for your cancer treatment, make sure to take these steps to help protect yourself from the virus:

  • Wash your hands and face frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Try to avoid crowds at the airport.
  • Choose a window seat on the plane, and don’t get up during the flight.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Consider bringing antibacterial wipes and wipe down your seating area, including your chair, armrest and eating surface—both on the plane or in the airport lounge or eating areas.

Contact us

I'm a current patient—is there a number I can call?

To speak to a member of our care management team, call (888) 325-4754.