News from Illinois CancerCare

COVID-19 | Illinois CancerCare Update

Our Commitment to Keeping Patients & Employees Safe

We are here for you and we are safe for you.

The Illinois CancerCare team understands that this is a difficult time for our patients. We will continue to make adjustments when we can to bring as much compassion and support to your journey, but our top priority is keeping you safe.

FAQs

What will be different?

As we seek to limit physical contact and the spread of germs, we have implemented social distancing standards, personal protective equipment, additional cleaning and sanitizing, the option of telemedicine, video conferencing or phone conferencing, and are limiting the number of people in each building with our single visitor policy and by not allowing any guests in the treatment rooms.

Based on patient volume, some clinics will have a pod outside for treatment shots and a separate exit for patients leaving after receiving lab work.

What will be the same?

While we want to limit contact, we will not be limiting our caring smiles and compassionate care. We are back to seeing patients in all clinics.

In the locations where we have a retail pharmacy, you may pick up your prescriptions as usual after completing a health screening at the clinic entrance.  Alternatives to visiting the pharmacy in person include having your prescriptions delivered by an Illinois CancerCare courier or mail service.

How are you protecting patients from COVID-19?

Infections from viruses and bacteria are not new to us. Illinois CancerCare already operates at a high level due to the risk of infection in our cancer patients. We have always been very cautious and particular in following strict infection control measures and we were well prepared for this pandemic.

Steps we have taken to protect our patients include the following:

  • We follow all guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
  • We have implemented additional cleaning measures overnight, along with cleaning around the clock, to ensure that all surfaces are wiped down between each patient throughout the day.
  • We have spaced out appointments and extended hours to accommodate social distancing and cleaning. We have also moved shorter treatments to the afternoon.
  • We have strict health screenings for anyone entering our care facilities anywhere. This is to identify those who may have the infection and to prevent them from entering.
  • If available, our employees are using a separate entrance to enter in the morning. This ensures that they are able to enter one at a time, participate in a health screening and receive the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they will wear that day.
  • All of our employees are wearing masks. Many are also wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employees receive extra training on how to use these protective measures to their highest potential.
  • While we are back to seeing patients in all clinics, we will continue to offer telemedicine through video conferencing or a phone call when a clinic visit is not required or is the preference of the patient. Your doctor will work with you to determine what is best for you.
  • In order to maintain proper social distancing, we have decals on the floor to indicate how close you should stand to another patient or visitor in our building.
  • When using the elevator, we ask each patient take their own turn and use hand sanitizer after exiting the elevator.
  • We are working to accommodate for social distancing standards in our patient waiting rooms with furniture placement and signage.
  • In our treatment rooms, chairs are also spaced out to ensure distancing, and are cleaned between patients. Our nursing team keeps IV bags behind the chairs to allow for ease of treatment at a small distance.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

We ask that you only bring those who you need with you. We have implemented a One Visitor Policy to limit the potential of you, and others around you, from getting infected. This has been a difficult decision as we have always understood the critical role that family and friends provide during these times. However, it is also important to prevent infection from coming in to our patient care areas.

We recognize the challenges that these safety measures present, but please be assured that our care team is here to support you. As always, our decisions are driven by our single purpose: to provide you with the absolute best and safest care while protecting your health.

What are other ways family members can be a part of my appointment or treatment?

We are doing all that we can to ease the difficulty of the one visitor policy.  We will assist you in connecting with your family and friends when you are here for an appointment through video or phone conferencing.

Will I be able to eat during treatment?

We require everyone inside to wear a mask at all times so eating in the waiting rooms and treatment room is discouraged. We will make exceptions for diabetics who need to eat or for patients who are here for long treatments.

Will I see Wrigley, Griffin or any other of the volunteer therapy dogs?

Our canine volunteers are not currently present, but look forward to coming back as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

How were these decisions made?

All decisions were made by the Illinois CancerCare physicians and our COVID-19 Readiness Committee in compliance with all guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

What if someone gets COVID-19?

The person will need documentation of two negative COVID test results greater than 24 hours apart before coming back in to the practice.

As a place that takes care of our patients, with the most modern treatments available, Illinois CancerCare has always adapted with the needs of the times. Our mission remains the same. We are focused on making sure that our clinical care sites remain the best places for world class, compassionate care.

Have other questions?

•    If you have any additional thoughts or questions, please email us at WeCare@IllinoisCancerCare.com.



6/22/2020 UPDATE:

Illinois CancerCare is happy to welcome visitors back into our facilities! We know how important it is for our patients to have loved ones with them through this time. That said, we are allowing ONE visitor per patient for doctor appointments only.

As an added precaution to protect our patients, visitors are still prohibited in lab and treatment areas. We are happy to work with you to include loved ones virtually.

As a reminder, we ask that you please continue to practice social distancing around non-family members when in our facilities. Masks are also still required in all common spaces throughout all Illinois CancerCare locations. This includes hallways, waiting and checkout areas, exam rooms, lab, imaging, and pharmacy.

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us protect you, other patients and our Illinois CancerCare healthcare team.

 



4/3/2020 UPDATE:

Illinois CancerCare is aware that local hospitals are limiting imaging exams due to the COVID-19 crisis.

To help ease the hospital systems and reduce traffic flow, we are now offering extended hours in the Imaging and Lab departments in Peoria and Pekin. This will allow us to continue providing quality patient care while doing our best to protect our patients and staff.

 



3/29/2020 UPDATE:

As another precaution for both patients and staff, Illinois CancerCare is now proud to offer the option of telemedicine, allowing patients to see their provider from the comfort of home!

You may be called prior to your appointment to discuss your telemedicine options and to help guide you through the process. Once your appointment is set, you will receive an email or text link for easy access to your virtual appointment.

Click here to learn more about telemedicine.

 



3/22/2020 UPDATE:

With the current shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Illinois CancerCare is accepting donations of PPE, specifically N95 Masks. We are also accepting new/sealed packages of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, non-latex powder-free gloves (all sizes), and non-latex powder-free sterile gloves (all sizes).

A donation drop off location has been set up near the back entrance of our Peoria facility:

Please send your address and a list of the supplies delivered to wecare@illinoiscancercare.com. We appreciate our community showing up for our patients and staff at this time of need!

 



3/18/2020 UPDATE:

For patients picking up prescriptions from our Peoria clinic, please call our retail pharmacy at 309-243-3405 to arrange your curbside pick up time.

This temporary service is offered as an extra precaution to allow us to continue providing state-of-the-art treatment and compassionate, lifesaving care throughout our communities.

 



3/16/2020 UPDATE:

Illinois CancerCare has implemented strict protocols in order to best protect our patients and healthcare providers.

PLEASE call 309-243-3000 if you are displaying a respiratory cough, a fever, flu-like body aches, are feeling ill prior to your appointment with us, or if you have traveled within the last 30 days.

Effective immediately:

  • No visitors will be allowed to accompany a patient to their appointment at all Illinois CancerCare clinics unless absolutely necessary. If a visitor is required, please limit to one person. It is preferred visitors drop off/pick up at the front door and do not enter the building with the patient – staff is available to help patients once inside the building.
  • No children under the age of 18 will be permitted.
  • All patients, visitors and staff will be screened prior to entering Illinois CancerCare clinics.
  • All patients will be called two days prior to your appointment to discuss any COVID-19 symptoms and recent travel.

Illinois CancerCare has always implemented a high standard of cleanliness to protect our patients. We are taking additional measures to eliminate risk and ask you to do the same by following CDC handwashing and social distancing guidelines.

Thank you for trusting Illinois CancerCare and helping us keep everyone safe.

 



3/13/2020 UPDATE:

Illinois CancerCare recognizes COVID-19 as a serious illness. We are committed to doing our best to protect our patients and staff. Therefore, extra measures have been put in place to allow us to continue providing state-of-the-art treatment and compassionate, lifesaving care in our 13 clinic communities.

We have been closely tracking the news of COVID-19 and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to communicate as information becomes available. Illinois CancerCare is being extremely cautious and is prepared to respond as necessary and appropriate. Our planning is based on the guidance of the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health departments.

Cancer patients who are undergoing active treatment are at a presumably higher risk than the general population. In order to provide a safe treatment environment, extra cleaning measures have been implemented. Illinois CancerCare is limiting all patients to just one caregiver accompanying them to our facilities. We are also prohibiting all external business, community partners, and vendors, as well as outside donations (blankets, hats, etc.) until further notice to eliminate unnecessary risk and exposure to patients and staff.

All patients who have traveled within the last 30 days or are exhibiting any flu like symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath) need to call 309-243-3000. In addition, all patients will be called two days prior to their appointment to discuss any travel within the last 30 days, possible exposure through others, and any flu like symptoms. If exposure and symptoms are identified, Illinois CancerCare will work closely with each patient to discuss options such as telephone conferencing or appointment rescheduling.

As a reminder, the most effective way to stay healthy is through best health practices to minimize the spread of infectious diseases. Steps everyone can take at home include social distancing, effective handwashing and keeping your house disinfected and clean. For more information on COVID-19, visit cdc.gov and dph.illinois.gov.