FIRST PERSON is on Laptop exploring the London Health Sciences Centre website when JUDY (Virtual Guide) enters the room
JUDY: Hi and welcome to the London Regional Cancer Program virtual experience. I’m Judy. If you are visiting this website for the first time, chances are that you or someone that you love has just been diagnosed with cancer.
When I found out that I had cancer a couple of years ago, I was terrified. I couldn’t believe that it was happening to me, and like you, I had many questions about how my life would change, what I had to do, where I had to go, and how long everything would take.
I’m here to help you and your family find the answers to some of these questions, and to share with you some of the things I've learned along the way.
So, let's get started. You can use the navigation bar to move around to the questions that you want answered first. One of the first questions I had was pretty general, what happens now? If that's where you are, start with the "Before Your Visit" section. If you are planning for your first visit but need to know how to get there, then go to "Getting Here" section, and if you have all that figured out and want to know more about what will happen once you get there, explore the "During Your Visit" section. It will help make everything seem more familiar to you from once you arrive to navigating the reception area to getting a glimpse of what's involved in your first visit. There are also maps and floorplans to help you find your way around, checklists and files that you can print to help you organize your visit, and lots of additional information about support services, and cancer treatment in general.
You can stop this tour at any time or return to repeat any of the information that you see or hear during the tour. So go ahead, start exploring and wherever you end up, someone will be there with you as well.
A diagnosis of cancer may be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face, but this is the first step in making sure that you don't have to do it alone.
I've invited over a friend that really helped me. Her name is Margaret and not only is she my friend, but she is also a volunteer at the clinic. She'll be able to fill you in on some of the details that might be of importance to you. Let me introduce you.
JUDY leaves the room to retrieve her friend MARGARET
JUDY points MARGARET down the hall towards FIRST PERSON
JUDY: Just down the hall.
MARGARET: Thanks, hi.
JUDY and MARGARET sit and address FIRST PERSON
JUDY: This is my friend Margaret.
MARGARET: Hi there, it's great to meet you. You know everyone’s experience with cancer and cancer treatment is different. Some people may already know someone who has been through the process and have an understanding of what to expect. Some people might feel completely unprepared for the journey. No matter what your experience is, I hope that we can give you some information about London Regional Cancer Program that you will find helpful and reassuring.
Now your first visit will be quite long. Plan on being at the clinic for at least 4 hours maybe more. Make sure you have everything you need and that you know how you’re getting there. We'll talk a little bit more about those topics a little later in the tour. You also might want to read or bring some music to listen to.
This tour aims to give you a lot of information. However, most likely you will have some questions that we can’t answer here. So, remember that you are an important part of your own health care team. The clinic encourages you to take an active role in your care. If you have any questions or concerns, write them down, and talk to one of your team members at your next appointment. Asking questions lets your healthcare team understand what is important to you.
JUDY: Cancer can be a scary thing, but you won't be doing it alone.
MARGARET: Now there are several reasons why you might be scheduled for an appointment at LRCP. Most likely you have just been diagnosed with cancer and you're coming in to talk about your treatment plan with an oncologist. An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment.
If you have questions about attending the clinic, feel feel to always ask for more information from your family doctor or referring physician.
JUDY: There are many items you will need to take with you, so grab any small bag, and come follow me.
JUDY leads FIRST PERSON into kitchen
JUDY: Before you leave, please make sure to take the following: All of your medications, including all over the counter prescription drugs, vitamins and herbal products, even if they don’t have anything to do with your cancer treatment.
FIRST PERSON takes medicine bottles out of kitchen cabinet and puts them into the bag - Clearly some are prescription and some are generic Vitamins
JUDY: This is crucial for the medical staff who will be planning your treatment for you, since even natural supplements can effect your treatments. Please also remember to bring any pain medications you are taking at this time.
FIRST PERSON opens cabinet again and takes out an over the counter pain-killer and places it in the bag
JUDY: You will need to have the phone number, name and address of your family doctor.
FIRST PERSON takes an appointment card off of the fridge that has a doctor’s name and contact details on the back and slides the card into the side of the bag
JUDY: You will also need the name, address and phone number of your pharmacy.
FIRST PERSON sees address on one of the pill bottles
JUDY: Good. Now let’s make sure that you have your Ontario Health card. If you have a drug insurance plan, you will need the group and policy numbers. Or, if you have a monthly drug benefit card, please bring a copy of it.
FIRST PERSON grabs wallet from the counter and checks that she has all identification required by the clinic
JUDY: If you have any drug allergies, please make a list of those allergies and any reactions that you might have.
FIRST PERSON reaches for a pad of paper and pen and writes down the applicable information before putting the binder in the bag
JUDY: Don’t forget your eyeglasses or hearing aid, if you use them. As you get to the clinic, you will need to fill out some forms and you might want to read something while you wait.
JUDY hands FIRST PERSON a hearing aid, and glasses which is then packed in the bag
JUDY: Are you diabetic? If so, make sure to take any of your food or snacks that you will require for the day.
FIRST PERSON opens fridge to grab a packed sandwich and an apple
JUDY: If you take Insulin, you will need to bring your Insulin and syringes to the hospital with you as the clinic pharmacy does not carry those medicines.
FIRST PERSON: Retrieves and packs a diabetic kit
JUDY: OK, now you’ve packed everything you need. Remember to bring some cash or credit or a debit card for anything that you might purchase while at the clinic. For example food or parking.
JUDY leads FIRST PERSON back into living room where MARGARET waits
MARGARET: You're also encouraged finally, to bring a family member or friend, aged 16 or older, to come with you to your first visit.
JUDY: I remember how anxious I was on my first visit, and having someone there with you just keeps you calm.
MARGARET: It’s also great to have someone there to help you provide more information or to take notes during your visit so bring a notebook and a pen. It's also good to have an extra set of ears to help listen to instructions or to ask questions that you might not think of at the time and of course, to keep you company.
There are a lot of things to remember, so we have created an easy-to-print checklist that's located in the interface of this tour and please also remember that the clinic is a no-scent facility so we ask that you don’t wear any perfume, or cologne, or aftershave or heavily-scented deodorants.
MARGARET: The London Regional Cancer Program is part of London Health Science Centre - Victoria Campus. It's located at the corner of Wellington and Commissioners roads. Let me show you.
MARGARET opens laptop and then turns it towards FIRST PERSON - Google Maps is on screen
MARGARET: You can reach the clinic by car, Canadian Cancer Society volunteer driver, or public transit.
MARGARET: There is parking for you in lots P1 and P2. They are located across from the clinic's main entrance facing Commissioners Road.
Paid parking is available at the LRCP. To find the current daily rate, please go to the ‘More Information’ section of this website. Weekly and Monthly passes are available from the booth or the parking office and, depending on your treatment plan, may be more economical for you.
If you’d like more information on parking you can call the Parking Office at the clinic.
Several spaces in parking lot P2 are reserved for people with Disabled Person Parking permits. These are located across from the main entrance. Wheelchairs are available just inside the front doors for your use while you are here.
Be sure to bring someone with you if you need help getting into or out of the car.
MARGARET: If you live in London there are four buses that will take you directly to the clinic. The #6 Richmond and the #24 Baseline will go directly to the clinic while the #1 Thompson Kipps-Lane and the #13 Wellington pass by the clinic on nearby streets. For fares and schedules and more information, visit the London Transit Commission website or give them a call.
MARGARET: If you are coming to the clinic by ambulance, please make sure that you bring all of the medicines you need for the day as well as some snacks. You may have a long wait for the ambulance to take you home because ambulances have to respond to emergencies first before they can transfer ambulatory patients.
MARGARET: Do you need a ride? Well the Canadian Cancer Society has a volunteer driver service. They might be able to arrange free transportation for you to the clinic for your appointments. You're free to call 1-888-939-3333 or contact the Canadian Cancer Society in your community to register for this service.
Now please keep in mind that the Canadian Cancer Society does require two business days notice to arrange a ride.
JUDY: Thanks Margaret. That's great. I've actually arranged for a ride to take us to the clinic. That must be him now.
MARGARET: Well, I'll get it. I have to head out anyhow. I have a shift this afternoon at the clinic, I guess I might even see you there. It's been really great to meet you. Bye.
FIRST PERSON follows JUDY to the front door where JOE (volunteer driver) is waiting
JOE: Hi there, my name's Joe. I'm a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society. I'm going to be your driver this afternoon to get you safely to the clinic. Do you have any bags you'd like me to take out?
FIRST PERSON hands JOE the bag
JOE: Thank you. I'll be waiting out in the vehicle whenever you're ready.
JOE leave closing the door behind him
JUDY: Are you ready to go? Then let's go.
JUDY opens door for FIRST PERSON
JUDY and FIRST PERSON get out of car
JUDY: So here we are at the London Cancer Clinic. We're taking the main entrance just off of Commissioners Road and through the main entrance is the front reception. Follow me.
FIRST PATIENT follows JUDY through main entrance
JUDY: Once you've arrived at the clinic, there will be many steps.
JUDY and FIRST PERSON both disinfect their hands with hand sanitizer
JUDY: Plan to be here for at least 4 hours or more. Let the receptionist know that you've arrived.
RECEPTIONIST: Hi, can I have your health card please?
RECEPTIONIST takes health card from FIRST PERSON and swipes it
RECEPTIONIST: Thank you. There you go.
RECEPTIONIST hands health card back to FIRST PERSON
RECEPTIONIST: This is an information package and there are some forms for you to fill out. You can just take a seat in the waiting area behind me the registration clerk will be with you shortly.
JUDY and FIRST PERSON walk over to waiting area and take a seat - FIRST PERSON begins filling out paperwork
FIRST PERSON is approached by Donna (Registration Clerk)
DONNA: Hi there, I’m Donna, one of the registration clerks at the centre. If I can get you to come into my office, we just need to make sure that we have all of the correct information on you that we need. Comon in.
FIRST PERSON gets up and follows DONNA into her office
DONNA: There you go. If you want to just have a seat over there. What we need to get from you is make sure that we've got the correct information on your family doctor as well as someone else in case of an emergency and that should be someone that can perhaps speak on your behalf, or if we can't get a hold of you, or someone that could provide some personal information on you. So we'll just put that into the computer here.
DONNA types information into computer
DONNA: That's great. Now that we're done, what I will do is I'll take you over to meet James our volunteer and he'll take you into the clinic. Comon with me.
DONNA: Just follow me.
DONNA walks FIRST PERSON over to meet James
DONNA: This is James our volunteer and he'll take you to clinic. Here are the records.
DONNA hands JAMES the records
JAMES: Thank you. Hi, when you finish with the registration process one of us will take you to an assigned waiting area and give you a pager so that you will know when your care team is ready for you. Follow me.
JAMES leads FIRST PERSON to a pager
JAMES: Hi, here's the charts.
JAMES hands charts to a woman seated at a desk and receives a pager
JAMES: Thank you. Right this way.
JAMES leads FIRST PERSON to kiosk
JAMES: Now this is Gord, one of our volunteers.
GORD: May I have your Health Card Please?
FIRST PERSON hands Gord Health Card which is swiped
GORD: Thank you.
JAMES: To help us help you better, we will need to have you enter information into one of these kiosks. A volunteer such as Gord will be able to help you with this.
GORD: We have a scale from zero to ten, zero being really good, and ten as in not so good. If you have any questions while we're answering the questions, please feel free to ask me.
JAMES: Once we've completed with this, you may take a seat in the waiting area. Here's your pager, it was a pleasure meeting you.
JAMES hands FIRST PERSON the pager, who then goes to sit in the waiting area
MARGARET approaches the waiting area with another patient and spots FIRST PERSON sitting there
MARGARET: It's great to see you.
It can be frustraiting to wait but I want you to know that the staff and the volunteers here at the clinic are doing their best to meet your needs as well as the needs of many other patients. And patients are not necessarily treated in order of arrival because there are many doctors who work in the same clinic. Please be assured that when the team sees you, you will be given the time you need.
Every appointment doesn't takes the same amount of time and delays do happen when unforeseen circumstances occur. Also, keep in mind that this clinic serves all of Southwestern Ontario.
As a research and teaching hospital, the clinic strongly supports the education of those who choose a career in cancer care. One or maybe more health profession students might be involved in your treatment under the direct supervision of a clinic staff members.
MARGARET: If you are feeling hungry, there is a ‘Soup and Sandwich’ cart down on Level 1. Or if you just feel like coffee or tea, the Canadian Cancer Society provides free tea, coffee and cookies in all the waiting areas here at the clinic and there's a Tim Horton’s down on Level 1 as well. It's open between 7:30 am to 4:00 pm and in addition to hot and cold beverages, they also have cookies and muffins - no sandwiches, though, so you may want to bring a packed lunch, especially if you are diabetic or if you have any other special dietary needs.
When your pager goes off that will alert you that you'll be directed to go into an exam room. I'm gonna leave you here now because I am going to go and see if I can help some other patients but, you're in good hands. Bye for now.
FIRST PERSON sits in waiting room reading a book - Timelapses and then pager goes off
JUDY: It's your turn.
FIRST PERSON collects their paperwork and pager and is met by SUSAN (Nurse)
SUSAN: Hi, I’m Susan. I’m a nurse here at the clinic. Please follow me.
SUSAN walks ahead of FIRST PERSON into an examination room
SUSAN: And here we are. Please have a seat.
So when you come to see me, I'll ask you some questions about your health and we'll review the forms that you've filled out. Sometimes, a medical resident, clinical assistant, a medical student or nurse practitioner under the advice of your oncologist, will come and perform a physical exam and ask you some questions about your medical history during our visit.
When the preliminary examination is complete, you'll meet here with your oncologist to discuss your treatment choices. I'm sure the doctor won't take long.
SUSAN leaves the room closing the door behind her
DR. ERNES (Oncologist) steps in
DR. ERNES: Hello I'm Dr. Ernes the oncologist in the clinic today. Welcome to the Cancer Centre. Now I've had a chance to review your chart and it contains all of the documentation your doctors have sent, so I have a pretty good idea of what's going on, but I'd like to take the next few minutes just to go over things in detail with you and address a number of questions I've got about the case and then examine you, and then we'll talk about your diagnosis and your treatment from there.
DR. ERNES: Okay well we've had a chance to go over everything in detail and now I'd like to take the next few minutes and just talk about your diagnosis and the implications as well as the number of treatment options that you have.
Now I see you've got a list of questions that you've brought and that's good, it's always good to write them down and bring them with you so we don't forget anything. Also it's useful to prioritize them to ensure that we cover everything that is really of concern for you.
DR. ERNES: It's been really nice meeting you today and your nurse will be right back and she'll come and address any other questions that you have. We'll look forward to seeing you again soon.
DR. ERNES leaves the room
SUSAN enters the room
SUSAN: Hi again. I hope that you have most of your questions answered now. But I can spend some time with you now to answer any other questions you might have. When we’re finished here, I’ll walk you over to the waiting area again, but before we go, there's something I need to tell you about the pharmacy here.
The LRCP outpatient retail pharmacy is open during clinic hours. Any prescriptions that the LRCP doctors write for you at the clinic can be filled there. You don't have to have your medications filled with us but sometimes your home pharmacy will not carry the items that are ordered. It's important for our pharmacy to have a list of your medications, any drug allergies you might have as well as all of your drug plan information.
Here at the LRCP we have a Supportive Care team that includes Social Workers, Dietitians, as well as a Spiritual Care Specialist. You can also use the Patient and Family Library.Whenever you're ready, I'll walk you back over to the waiting area. Okay? Let's go.
JUDY meets SUSAN and FIRST PERSON outside of the examination room
JUDY: Hi there, I hope you found this virtual tour useful so far. I know from experience that you probably have a lot more questions and you can go to the ‘More Information’ tab on this website, but there are a few services right here in the hospital that I found useful that I would like to show you. Come follow me.
FIRST PERSON follows JUDY
JUDY leads FIRST PERSON into library
JUDY: So here we are at the library with one of our helpful volunteers.
JAMES: Hi again. The Patient and Family Library was created especially for cancer patients and their families. It's full of up to date books and pamphlets about health and cancer recovery, and there's even computers that you can use to find information about your concerns. If you can’t find what you’re looking for or you’re not sure what's available, please ask one of the library’s helpful volunteers.
If you would like more information in advance you’re welcome to start with one of the reputable links and information we’ve provided on the ‘More Information’ section. This section covers everything from complementary therapy, links to reputable books, websites and programs and information on how to help someone you know who has been diagnosed with cancer.
JUDY: Absolutely, don't make the mistake that I did. Looking into your own research online can lead to misleading and inaccurate information. Let's head off to Supportive Care now. Thank you.
JUDY leads FIRST PERSON out of library
JUDY walks FIRST PERSON to Supportive Care
JUDY: So here we are at Supportive Care.
SC RECEPTIONIST: Hi there. Welcome to Supportive Care. We have a lot of different programs here to offer you. This is Jim, he’s one of the social workers here at the clinic. He can tell you more.
JIM: Welcome. Why don't you come into my office and we can talk some more.
JIM walks FIRST PERSON into office
JIM: Come right in, have a seat if you're comfortable.
So one thing we know about cancer is that it disrupts a lot of things. A social worker can help you manage the different parts of your life that might be effected by cancer. Many people will have intense emotions anxiety, anger, sadness. Talking to a social worker as you adjust to life with cancer can be very helpful. Sometimes people will ask for guidance around talking to their family or friends. Parents with cancer often want help around talking to their children about their illness and changes that might occur in the family due to cancer.
Of course we can also help sort out practical concerns such as finances, or changes in employment status. As well we can help you to connect with services in the community such as Wellspring Cancer Support Centre or the Canadian Cancer Society.
Now under supportive care, I also have some other colleagues that you might be interested in working with. When cancer creates distress of heart and spirit, we have a spiritual care specialist who can support you and guide you as you draw in on your inner wisdom, strength and resiliency. Spiritual care is interfaith and interdenominational and can be available to you at any point in your journey with cancer.
As well we have dietitians on staff who can assist you if you have unintentional weight loss, or side effects that make it challenging to eat or drink, or if you aren’t sure what to eat in order to optimize your nutrition during treatment.
So you can ask a member of your health care team to refer you to any of these people or you can call Supportive Care to refer yourself.
I hope that's helpful for you. Well it was very good to meet you and I hope to see you again.
FIRST PERSON exits office and meets JUDY in hallway
JUDY: We’re almost done here. There’s just one thing I would like my friend Margaret to show you. She's waiting for you down there.
JUDY points down hallway
FIRST PERSON approaches reception desk
RECEPTIONIST: Hello you must be Margaret's friend. Welcome to Thameswood Lodge. Margaret is waiting for you right over there.
FIRST PERSON turns to see MARGARET
MARGARET: Hi there, and welcome to the Thameswood Lodge. If you need to travel more than 40km for your cancer treatments, you are eligible to stay here. Thameswood Lodge is a 62-bed facility run by the London Regional Cancer Program. The rooms are free of charge and there is a small cost for your meal plan.
Patients are registered and can stay for the duration of their treatment. Patients must be able to take care of themselves and must bring their own medications. If you would like a family member or friend to stay with you at Thameswood Lodge, please contact the Lodge directly to see if there is room available. There is a fee for your family member or friend to stay.
Follow me to one of the rooms.
MARGARET leads FIRST PERSON to the hallway
MARGARET leads FIRST PERSON down a hallway towards accommodations
MARGARET: Comon in here.
FIRST PERSON takes a look around one of the Thameswood Lodge rooms
MARGARET: Thameswood Lodge offers shared accommodations. Now, it may be a long time since you've shared a room with a stranger and we know that it might seem strange at first, but many of our guests report feeling an enhanced sense of friendship and camaraderie with their roommate.
I'll show you some more.
MARGARET shows FIRST PERSON to a common area
MARGARET: The Lodge also has common areas where people can read or watch television, eat and share their personal experiences.
Thameswood Lodge is not a treatment facility. It is a smoke-free and fragrance-free environment. If you would like more information or would like to book a room, please call the Lodge.
I'll walk you back out now.
MARGARET leads FIRST PERSON out of common area
MARGARET leads FIRST PERSON to the Lodge lobby
MARGARET: Let's have a seat right here.
There is no place like home, but the Lodge tries to be the next best thing, and many Thameswood Lodge guests have reported that they can't imagine going through their treatment without the social interaction and the support of their peers in this setting.
It's been really great meeting you and I'm glad we got to show you around a bit. Judy's waiting for you back home.
JUDY and FIRST PERSON are back at home
JUDY: Hi again, and welcome back home. Thank you for joining us on this virtual experience. We hope you have found it very helpful.
We would like to wish you all the best in your upcoming treatments.