Take control of your safety and well-being during cancer treatment
Your care team should be working with you to ensure successful outcomes during treatment. However, it’s important for you to be an active member of your care plan and fully understand your diagnosis and options.
Hospitals are evaluated on key metrics such as quality and safety, and their certifications as well as affiliations are often signs of competence and excellence. Don’t hesitate to ask physicians about these and any other issues you feel are important to your care. Below are a few areas to focus on:
Cleanliness/Infection control: One of the most important things in any hospital is cleanliness. Make sure to ask anyone that comes into your room – including doctors and nurses – if they’ve washed their hands. It’s the best way to control infection, reduce illness and guarantee a safe environment. You want to get home as quickly as possible and cleanliness is crucial to reducing hospital stays.
Experience & Expertise: You want your cancer team to be experts in their field. Choose a high-volume center that performs a high number of procedures associated with your diagnosis. High volume is often associated with lower mortality and more positive patient outcomes. Other indicators of expertise in treating cancer include the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and accreditation by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
Specialized Services: Controlling the physical and emotional side effects of cancer treatment is important to your overall health and safety. Rehabilitation therapists, psychologists, social workers, pain management and nutrition experts are important members of your team. Ask your doctor to connect you with specialized services to find the resources and support you need.