Frequently Asked Questions About Patient Safety

Should I be worried about getting infected with COVID-19 at City of Hope?
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City of Hope has extensive and thorough infection control procedures, and we will do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our community. We have protocols and systems in place to keep all patients, visitors and health care workers safe.

What steps are doctors, nurses and other caretakers taking to safeguard their and my health?
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Our staff pass through the same screening checkpoints as patients and exempt visitors before coming to work. We’ve also canceled nonessential procedures and rescheduled or converted many of our appointments to telemedicine.

What measures are you taking to make sure all patient and visitor areas are properly sanitized and disinfected?
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To ensure the safety of our patients, we have hired additional staff to focus solely on disinfecting and sanitizing high-traffic and high-touch areas. We have increased our frequency of disinfection on all hard surfaces to multiple times a day, and we have added more hand-sanitizing stations throughout our campus. We are also using disinfectant to sanitize large spaces like our waiting rooms more effectively and efficiently.

Is it safe for me to use a City of Hope-owned wheelchair?
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Yes. Wheelchairs are wiped down and disinfected with hospital-grade disinfectant for every patient.

How is physical distancing being implemented in the infusion center? (Or how are you keeping chemotherapy patients safe during infusions?)
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Infusion appointment volumes have decreased by 15-20%, and waiting rooms are no longer crowded. Patients who are waiting for treatment are able to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more away from each other.

 

Inpatients are placed in private rooms, as available. Due to lower appointment volumes in the early mornings and late afternoons, we are able to leave every other infusion chair vacant.

 

At nearly all times, patients will be kept 6 feet apart. During peak hours, due to space constraints, patients may be seated within 4 to 6 feet of one another, in which case a curtain will be drawn between them. The no visitor policy has also helped to create more physical distance between patients.

Do I need to wear a mask?
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Yes, all patients and staff are asked to wear masks at all times while on the City of Hope campus. If a patient arrives without a mask, we’ll provide one.

 

Wearing a mask with a filtered valve helps protect everyone by filtering an individual’s exhaled breath. Masks with an exhalation valve make the mask less humid to wear but can put others at risk. These masks protect the wearer, but the valve lets the unfiltered breath out, which could transmit diseases to people nearby.

 

If a patient or employee is wearing a valve mask when they arrive at City of Hope, we will provide them with a surgical mask to exchange or wear over the valve.

Do we know how COVID-19 affects cancer patients?
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We are still learning how this virus may impact those who have cancer. People who are ill — from cancer or another underlying condition — will suffer coronavirus complications at higher rates, especially those whose immune systems are compromised. The risk is higher in patients with more than one chronic medical condition.

 

Should I Be Washing My Hands Or Using Sanitizer/Wipes More Often Than Others? Is There A Special Sanitation Regime I Should Be Undertaking?

 

How Can I Deal With My Anxiety Over This Virus?

Should I be washing my hands or using sanitizer/wipes more often than others? Is there a special sanitation regime I should be undertaking?
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Hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water or the use of alcohol gel/sanitizer with a greater than 60% alcohol content on a regular basis is recommended. Touching of the face, eyes or nose with unclean hands is strongly discouraged. When in shared spaces, wipe down surfaces such as desk, chairs, doorknobs, tabletops, airline seat/table (travel is discouraged!) with disinfectant or antiseptic wipes.

How can I deal with my anxiety over this virus?
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It is most likely that this virus will be circulating in the community for some time, increasing the likelihood of acquisition. However, by employing frequent hand hygiene, environmental disinfection, social distancing (including of family members if they are ill), and avoiding travel and crowded places, you can minimize the chances of contracting COVID-19. We also have a strong team of supportive care experts who can provide support as needed.

 

Lastly, we recommend vaccination for COVID-19 and influenza (for both the patient and family members/caregivers) — both viruses are circulating in the community and may cause poor outcomes in patients with compromised immune systems.

Videos

City of Hope experts —  Chief Nursing Officer Susan Brown, Ph.D.; vice president of Enterprise Quality and Patient Safety, Tyler Seto, M.D.; and chief of the Division of Psychology, Jeanelle Folbrecht, Ph.D. — answer questions about how City of Hope is keeping patients safe from COVID-19.

How Can I Avoid Getting COVID-19?

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Will City Of Hope Provide Me A Mask?

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Can I Get Tested For COVID-19 Antibodies?

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What Can I Do To Help Fight COVID-19?

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How Can I Deal With My Stress And Anxiety?

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