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Treatment Services

At Vancouver Centre we offer comprehensive cancer care services.

On your first day, check in at Admitting on the 1st Floor.  After you are admitted, on other visits you can go directly to where your appointment is scheduled.  Most patients check-in on the 2nd Floor for dr. appointments, the 3rd Floor for lab tests and diagnostic imaging.

Ambulatory Care Chemotherapy Unit (ACCU)

The hours of operation in the ACCU are Monday-Friday 08:15-19:00. The unit has a reception desk and 8 treatment rooms. Each room has 3 to 4 treatment chairs that recline for patient’s comfort.

In this unit all chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously. Patients may receive a single drug or a combination depending on their type of cancer. The length of stay for treatments is between 30 minutes to 8 hours; patients receiving longer treatments are encouraged to bring a book, personal music player, or their favourite drinks and snacks for their time in the treatment unit.

Daycare Unit

The daycare unit is located on the 6 th floor and shares a reception desk with ACCU and has a two bed room, two single rooms and three treatment chairs.. The hours of operation are Monday-Friday 07:30-19:00. Daycare treatments and procedures include bone marrow biopsies, to have a nurse take blood specimens from a central venous catheter, blood or platelet transfusions, intravenous hydration, patient teaching for self-injections, care of central venous catheters, and ambulatory infusion pumps. The length of stay in this unit can be between 15 minutes to 8 hours depending on the treatment or procedure. Patients who need to stay for many hours are encouraged to bring a book, personal music player and their favourite drinks and snacks.

Inpatient Unit

The in-patient unit is located on the 5 th floor.

The Vancouver Centre has 32 beds for patients requiring chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pain and symptom management or who have complications from their cancer or the treatments they are receiving. The average length of stay is 7 days. All patients are encouraged to invite their family or friends to visit and we do not have restricted visiting hours.

Nursing

At the Vancouver Centre, you will be cared for by registered nurses (RN) who have received additional education in cancer care. Many of our nurses have achieved the designation of Certified Oncology Nurses in Canada (CON(C)).

The oncology nurse has a significant role in helping individuals and family members cope with the many stresses of being ill. The nurses teach, advise, counsel and support cancer patients and their families to understand and manage the treatments and side effects. Nurses are involved in administering cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Nurses will assist you in managing problems such as nausea, fatigue, skin care, pain or constipation. Whatever stage of cancer or treatment you are in, the nurses will be there to assess and help you cope with the illness.

The nurse will refer your care to community supports, such as home care, and will ensure that there is communication with nurses in the community, where you may receive some of your care, in order that your care may be uninterrupted and comprehensive. Your nurse is a key information source, and can answer many of your questions.

Ambulatory Care

When you come to the centre, you will be assigned to an Oncology Primary Nurse. This nurse has received additional education in cancer care that includes knowledge and skill related to your specific type of cancer. She/he works with the oncologists and other members of the care team to offer you services you require. The Oncology Primary Nurse will assess your current state of health, and with you and the doctor, will determine the plan of care. She/he will coordinate your care with other health professionals, and ensure that services are available to you, such as nutrition, counselling, teaching or home care support.

The Oncology Primary Nurse may call you at home to find out how you are managing the treatments; or you may call her if you are concerned about symptoms or side effects. She/he will offer advice or refer you to the oncologist.

The goal of the Oncology Primary Nurse is to help individuals and family members adjust to and cope well with the stresses of having cancer. Please let us know how we can help you.

Ambulatory Care Chemotherapy Unit (ACCU)

Chemotherapy treatments are given by registered nurses who work in ACCU. These nurses have intensive education to support their practice and care delivery. The nurses work closely with the Pharmacists and Oncologists to ensure that your treatments are accurate and given in a timely way, in accordance with the protocols. The nurses will teach you about the treatments, drugs used and side effects, in order to ensure that you have information to support you during your treatments. They will help you to manage side effects, and will refer you to other professionals, as needs arise.

Operating Room, Day Care Unit

There are specialty units at the Vancouver Centre, such as the Operating Room, Recovery Room and Day Care, where certified nurses offer unique care and services. You can be assured that they work closely with the oncologists, radiation therapists, pharmacists, counsellors and other members of the interdisciplinary team to coordinate care and ensure that patient needs are met.

Nutrition Services

Registered dietitians/nutritionists are qualified experts in food and nutrition who work with the public, other health professionals, business and industry, and the media. Registered clinical dietitians/nutritionists must have a university degree specializing in foods and nutritional sciences including courses in organic chemistry, physiology and biochemistry plus an approved one-year dietetic internship in an accredited hospital or a master’s degree in human nutrition. With this training, they are able to translate sound, scientific information about food and nutrition into practical advice for the public.

The RDNs at the Vancouver Centre are specialized in the areas of nutrition for cancer prevention and the nutritional needs of people with cancer

The nutritionists can help you deal with your questions and problems. Advice is available about:

  • Adjusting your eating pattern to suit your appetite. 
  • Making mealtime and meal preparation easier. 
  • Meal and snack ideas to try if your usual favourites do not appeal to you. 
  • Soft or liquid diets if chewing or swallowing are difficult. 
  • Special nutritional products if you cannot eat enough food to maintain your weight. 
  • Adjusting your diet to deal with constipation or diarrhea. 
  • Popular unconventional nutrition remedies for cancer. 
  • Diet guidelines to reduce cancer risk.

The nutritionists also have a variety of written materials to help you cope with the side effects of cancer and its treatment.

The nutritionists are available to see all patients and family members who have questions about nutrition and cancer. Each nutritionist specializes in different kinds of cancer. If you would like to see a nutritionist, talk to your nurse, doctor or therapist. They can make arrangements for you to see a nutritionist at the time of your usual clinic visit.

Or, you can call the Nutrition Department directly at (604) 877-6000 local 2013 or toll free 1-800-663-3333 local 2013.

Pharmacy

The Pharmacy is located on the 6th floor of the Vancouver Centre

Opening Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday

For inpatient services, Pharmacy will be available daily on-site and by pager 87-03501 when not on site.

Outpatient Services 

Drugs Supplied: 

  • Although medications for supportive care, such as antinauseants or pain control medications must be picked up at a community pharmacy, all medications used to treat your cancer are provided free of charge at the Vancouver Centre. Injections, which require special mixing procedures, are prepared by specially-trained Pharmacy staff for Nurses to administer while you are at the Centre. Tablets or capsules to take by mouth at home are dispensed from the 6th Floor Pharmacy.

Refilling prescriptions (getting more when you run out): 

  • Usually, a maximum of 3 months’ supply of tablets or capsules is dispensed at one time. If your oncologist intends for you to take the medications for more than 3 months, he or she may authorize Pharmacy to dispense further supplies (refills) when you run out. If that is the case, when you first receive the medication, the Pharmacist will give you a card with information on how to obtain refills.

In some situations, your oncologist may want to see you or talk with you before Pharmacy can dispense more medication for you. You would then have to contact your oncologist to provide Pharmacy with a new prescription before more medication can be dispensed. To ensure that there is enough time to make all the necessary arrangements, please call your oncologist two weeks before you run out of medication.

Drug Information: 

  • You will be given verbal and written instructions about your medications when they are dispensed. Pharmacists can provide information about any medications you are taking, including those prescribed by other physicians and those you choose to take yourself (such as vitamins and complementary therapies). To assist you in obtaining the best possible results from your treatment, we want you to know about your medications, how to take them, their possible side effects, how to manage or prevent those side effects and any other medication-related information which may help you. 

Pharmacists are available in the 6th Floor Pharmacy from 08:30 to 17:00 every weekday to answer most questions. Some questions about your medications may require more time to answer so a suitable time for a consultation, either in person or over the telephone, can be arranged. You may also phone us for information or ask the nurse at your next appointment to arrange a consultation with a pharmacist.

Inpatient Services

Pharmacists are also involved in your care if you stay in the Centre as an inpatient. As well as providing all medications you require during your stay, we work with the rest of your care team to ensure that your drug treatment continues to provide the best results. We are available to discuss any concerns you may have about, and help make arrangements for, the medications you are taking during your hospital stay and those that you may need after discharge. Although most medications are provided for you during your hospital stay, it is a good idea to bring any you are currently taking along with you when you are admitted. This will contribute valuable information about your current treatment and will also ensure that you don’t miss any scheduled doses immediately after admission.

For more information, please call: (604) 877-6135 or 1-800-663-3333 local 6135.

For more information on cancer drugs, see the Cancer Drug Manual.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is on Level 2. For more information, see Radiation Therapy.

Radiology (Diagnostic Imaging)

  • Barium Exam of the Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Copies of Report and/or Images
  • CT (Computed Tomography) Scan
  • Department Staff
  • Mammography
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • Needle Biopsy and Fine Needle Aspiration

Surgical Suite

The Surgical Suite has two operating rooms, a surgical daycare, post-anesthetic recovery room and sterile supply department located on the 2nd floor.

The suite is open Monday-Friday 07:00-17:00, and all procedures in both operating rooms to provide diagnostic information or treatment for cancer patients. The physicians who operate are surgeons, oncologists or researchers. The procedures performed include breast biopsies, minor gynecological procedures, prostate brachytherapy, bone marrow harvest, node biopsies, gastroscopies, colonoscopies and bronchoscopies.

The majority of surgical suite patients are day patients who come to the surgical daycare for preparation, and after the procedure, recover prior to discharge home.

Further information, see Surgery in About Cancer. 


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