It was stated that the COVID-19 is impacting almost every sides of our global and domestic societies and health care systems and people with cancer are at increased risk of COVID-19, and their outcomes are worse than individuals without cancer by Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN.
F. Marc Stewart, MD, Medical Director, SCCA said that for our generation, a quick and confident response to the COVID-19 crisis would be the health care challenge. He also mentioned that our most important goal is to keep our cancer patients and staff safe while providing empathetic, high-quality care under phase we’ve never had to face before. We are busy working to develop new guidelines and policies to take care of situations that we never thought of facing few weeks ago. When this epidemic comes to an end, we will all be proud of what we have done for our patients and each other in this critical moment for humanity.
Experts from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) shared insights and advice about continuing providing optimal cancer care during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The article highlights the importance of keeping communication channels open between administrators and staff, patients, caregivers, and the general public. Authors also talk about the need to remain flexible and ready for unexpected challenges which include Staff shortages due to potential exposure or school closings, Limitations of medical infrastructural needs, Impact on treatment from all sort of bans.
After enlightening us about the challenges authors recommended following concerns through proactive measures:
- Travel bans and making work-from-home possible where ever it could.
- Keeping use of soap and water above hand gel
- Providing information to patients through web-based communication, signs, and a dedicated phone line for questions.
- Reducing the unnecessary use of emergency department resources by increasing hours of general hospital operations.
- Strengthening a strict “stay at home when ill” policy and ensuring staff have access to testing
- Restricting the number of people entering patients’ rooms
- Adopting a no visitor policy with rare exceptions such as end-of-life circumstances
Having upfront, proactive palliative and end-of-life conversations with cancer patients who may become infected with COVID-19.
Beyond the medical community, self-care is also important. The authors call for the prioritization of measures to protect health and front line staff and assure a safe work environment in order to prevent provider burnout.