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Your Journey With Us

The Centre serves a pivotal role in delivering BC Cancer's provincial cancer control strategies.

The information in this section is about what to expect at our Centre. The Guidebook for Patients can also be printed or downloaded. 

As an out-patient facility, information about accommodation, parking and other facts about Kelowna are included as well.

Your First Step Towards Healing is a video introducing our clinic and services. You can watch this video online, or borrow a copy from our Library.


At the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior, we base our approach to care and treatment on the foundation of BC Cancer standards, provincial programs and consistent and carefully designed care and support processes. This approach features teamwork and equality and focuses on empowering patients as they progress through treatment. Patients can concentrate on one thing – getting well.


The Centre serves a pivotal role in delivering BC Cancer's provincial cancer control strategies. And, like BC Cancer's centres in Fraser Valley, Vancouver and on Vancouver Island, the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior has a character that reflects the area it serves. We are developing cancer prevention and treatment initiatives, in collaboration with regional partners such as school districts, health authorities, and universities, focusing on cancer and the spectrum of health. 


Coping with Cancer

The effects of dealing with cancer can present unique challenges to your body, mind, relationships and lifestyle.  Our Coping with Cancer section found in Health Info has helpful information to assist you in your daily life. Topics include nutrition, finance, emotional support, symptoms and side effects.

 
Here are a few pieces of information which new patients have found useful to know:
  • Cancer is a common disease which can strike anyone at any age
  • Cancer affects everyone in a different way. Your treatment may be different than the treatment received by someone you know who's had cancer.
  • Your cancer may not behave in the same way as it does for another person
  • Our team recommends treatment for each individual based on that person's particular case and needs
  • Your experience as you deal with cancer may affect your family and friends. Our team is available to help them also.
  • Should you experience side effects from your treatment, our team will help you cope.

 

We understand how overwhelming your first visit can be.


Our experienced team of staff and volunteers will endeavour to answer all your questions and concerns.

Before your first visit, you will be called by the New Patient Referral Office. This phone call will cover: 

  • Appointment date and time
  • General personal information      
  • The names of physicians who are treating you now      
  • Whether you need any translation help or someone to drive you to your appointment 

Before your first visit:

  • You can call our counsellors, social workers or nurses for support and information      
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you to your appointment      
  • Write down questions you want to ask our staff, or you can ask the person coming with you to your first appointment to help you remember your questions
  • Visit our Library to check out other sources of information about cancer
  • Review the Patient Reported Information and Symptom Management form (PRISM) form  that you will be asked to complete when you arrive for your first appointment. If you wish, you may print the Health Assessment Form and complete it at your leisure before you come for your first visit.
  • Browse our Health Information and Coping with Cancer sections to learn more.
 

Your first visit is for consultation and planning. 

You will meet some members of your team of health care professionals. They will learn about you and, together with you, make plans for your care. You'll have a physical examination by a cancer specialist. You will also have a chance to talk to the specialist and your nurse. It would be helpful if you write down and bring your questions with you. At the end of your first visit, you will likely have some plans in place, either for further testing, treatment or other follow-up. Altogether, your first visit will last about 2½ hours.

The Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior is also a research centre and you may be offered an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial.


What To Bring

  • Your B.C. Care Card
  • List of all current medications (this includes pain killers, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc)
  • List of questions to ask at your consultation (it is a good idea to bring a pen and notepad to record appointment dates, information, answers, etc)
  • A friend or relative
  • Reading glasses, if you use them, as there will be forms to fill out and information to read

When You Arrive

Having a family member or friend come with you is a great way to help you remember what was said. 

You will be greeted by a Unit Clerk at the Reception Desk. If you haven't already done so, you will be  asked to fill out a Health Assessment Form. You will then be directed to one of the clinics for your appointment with your oncologist. A physical examination will be conducted by a cancer specialist and this will be an opportunity to talk to the specialist and your nurse. It would be helpful if you write down and bring your questions with you. Altogether, your first visit will last about 2½ hours.


It is very unlikely you will receive any treatment on your first visit.


You will be provided with an appointment card before you leave. This will include your primary oncologists' phone number, as well as the number to call to change appointments. It will also be the place where any upcoming appointments are recorded. You should carry this card with you whenever you return to the cancer centre. If you phone in, you will be asked for your chart number. Having this number available may shorten your time on the phone.

You should carry this card with you whenever you return to the cancer centre. If you phone in, you will be asked for your chart number. Having this number available will shorten your time on the phone.


Other useful information

  • the Centre for the Southern Interior is a non-smoking facility
  • please do not wear scented products
  • we ask patients and families not to use cell phones in the consultation or treatment areas
  • animals other than assist dogs are prohibited in the building

The Centre is located at 399 Royal Avenue, between Pandosy and Abbott Streets. 

Patient parking is available in the Royal Avenue parking lot, close to the main entrance.  When you arrive, purchase parking from the parking dispenser adjacent to the front entrance. Parking rates are $1.50/hour, $5/day, $20/week or $53/month. The parking meter only accepts credit cards and coins. All vehicles need a pass to avoid a parking fine.

If you're coming by bus, take the #1 Lakeshore route and get off at Kelowna General Hospital. You can get to the Cancer Centre by walking through the hospital and along the walkway connecting KGH with Cancer Centre. When you reach our lobby, please check in at the Reception Desk.

The Handidart Bus Custom Transport helps those whose disability makes it difficult to use public transport. Phone 250-762-3278 and book at least 24 hours in advance.

Travelling from outside Kelowna

Patients come to SAHCSI from communities throughout the BC Interior. The online booklet, It Takes A Team, may give some helpful ideas on driving. There is also a BCCA webpage about Travel to Cancer Centres

The Free Masons Volunteer Drivers provide transportation to and from the Centre for patients from Kamloops to Oliver or from the bus depot or accommodations to the Centre and back at no charge. Phone 250-712-1101 or 1-800-299-0188 and book at least two days in advance.
** PLEASE NOTE: Due to the complexity of scheduling appointments, patients transported by the Volunteers drivers may have to wait for other patients for their return ride**

For those of you flying into town, the Kelowna Airport Shuttle offers pick-up and drop-off services to the Centre. You can contact them by phone at 250.765.0182 or by fax at 250.765.1789 for pricing and to arrange pick-up.


 
If you have to cancel your first visit, please call the physician who referred you to the Cancer Centre. Your doctor will help you reschedule. To change or confirm an appointment please call the Appointment Desk  250-712-3900 or toll-free 1-888-563-7773. Follow the prompts for radiation or systemic (chemotherapy) appointments.
 

The BC Cancer, Centre for the Southern Interior is adjacent to the Kelowna General Hospital. Many hospital services are used by cancer patients. You will be in the hospital for a number of reasons, and if it helps, a Volunteer will assist you to find where you're going. A corridor on the south side of the Cancer Centre leads directly to the hospital.


Diagnostic imaging

The Diagnostic Imaging Department provides X-Rays, CT Scans, MRIs and similar tests and is located in Kelowna General Hospital at the end of our adjoining corridor.


Laboratory

Some lab tests provided by Kelowna General Hospital are common for most cancer patients. 

Some lab tests are provided by Valley Medical Laboratory in the community and is the case for patients involved in research.

Medical Day Unit

Certain procedures, such as blood transfusions, are carried out in the Kelowna General Hospital Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU). Walk through our adjoining corridor, turn left once you pass Diagnostic Imaging and the area is at the end of the hall. 

All patients must register at the Kelowna General Hospital admitting desk prior to proceeding to ambulatory care.


In-hospital care

At some point in your treatment, you may need to be in hospital. You may need special chemotherapy or radiation treatment and have to stay at the Kelowna General Hospital. In these cases, you will be admitted to a special unit for cancer patients located on the fourth floor. Your oncologist will remain involved with your care while you are in hospital.

To reach the 4th floor hospital unit where care will be provided (4A or 4B) take the elevators in the hospital's main lobby.

 

As well as your list of questions, you need to bring:

  • Your B.C. Care card   
  • A list of your medications (including vitamins, pain killers, herbal remedies, etc) 
  • A snack, canned drink or light lunch
  • Reading glasses; there will be forms to fill out and information to read
  • A relative or friend
 

It is unlikely you will receive treatment during your first visit, so there is no need to fast beforehand. However, you will need to be available for the doctor or nurse throughout your visit. For your first visit, it's a good idea to bring a snack, canned drink or light lunch with you.


On subsequent visits, take-out lunches are available through the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge located just west of the Centre parking lot. Pre-order by 10:00 am by calling 250-712-2203 extension 225. Your lunch will be waiting for you at the specified pick-up time.


The Kelowna General Hospital hosts a cafeteria as well as a "snackery" in the hospital lobby where you can purchase snacks, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks.

 

Patient parking is available in the Royal Avenue parking lot, close to the main entrance.  When you arrive, purchase parking from the parking dispenser adjacent to the front entrance.  Parking rates are $1.50/hour, $5/day, $20/week or $53/month (30 days).  The parking meter only accepts credit cards and coins.

 

You may be able to stay at the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge, run by the Canadian Cancer Society. Check on this first by calling 250-712-2203.


The Patient and Family Counselling office may be able to advise of other accommodations available in the area.  Call 250-712-3963 (or toll free 1-888-563-7773, local 3963).

 
When you are receiving care at BC Cancer, our staff and physicians will collect personal information from you. Where permitted, BCCA will also collect information about you from other health care providers or health care organizations.

Collecting, using and sharing your personal information

Your information may be entered into our electronic health information systems to assist authorized persons in quickly accessing pertinent information wherever you may be receiving care or services. 

We collect, use and share your personal information under the primary authority of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”).  FIPPA and other legislations authorize us to use and share your personal information for these reasons:

  • to identify you and keep in contact with you about your health care
  • to provide ongoing care and support of care activities
  • to help us plan, monitor, maintain and improve our care and services,
  • for education and training (e.g. medical students) and to conduct research with consent or as permitted by law
  • to know your eligibility for benefits and services and to arrange medical services billing
  • to enable parties (e.g. Ministry of Health Services, Canadian Institute of Health Information) to confirm your identity, conduct planning and improvement activities, measure performance and fund healthcare 
  • to analyze, manage and control disease outbreaks and monitor the overall health of people 
  • as required by law (e.g. court order, reportable conditions) and as authorized by FIPPA
Your health information will be provided to your referring physician, other authorized health care professionals and their support staff, or health care agencies and facilities involved in your care to support continuous and consistent care and service. In some cases, these health professionals may look up your health information in our electronic health information systems in order to provide you with direct or supporting services.

You may request access to your health record by contacting the Release of Information Office in the cancer centre where you are receiving your treatment.

eHealth and your information

eHealth is a provincial initiative that allows certain aspects of your health information to be accessed by authorized health care professionals throughout the province and not just within a particular region. Each health authority sends specific health information to a province-wide electronic information system, where it is stored with strict protections and used for limited and authorized purposes.  For more information about eHealth, please visit the government eHealth website at http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ehealth .
SOURCE: Your Journey With Us ( )
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