The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced new guidelines to help you stay safe when visiting your doctor or getting a prescription filled. In this article, we’ll outline some of the most important takeaways to help you stay safe during healthcare-related trips. More specifically, we’ll also share how those tips can be applied for people who are dealing with cancer.
As local governments loosen coronavirus restrictions and more businesses re-open their doors, it’s important for people to continue practicing preventive actions in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. These new guidelines from the CDC are designed to help you make an informed decision on when it’s appropriate to venture out of your home, and how to protect yourself and others when you do decide to go out.
THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR HEALTHCARE-RELATED TRIPS
1. Consider telehealth/touchless options
The first key takeaway from the CDC guidelines on visiting your doctor is to find out whether your healthcare provider offers any telehealth options. Many doctor’s offices have telehealth programs that allow you to do a virtual video chat with a physician. It may also be possible to speak with your healthcare provider through secure communication lines using telephone or email.
If you need to pick up a prescription, check to see if your pharmacy offers touchless services like drive-thru, curbside pickup or mail-order delivery. You can also ask your doctor if it’s safe for them to prescribe a larger supply than normal, so you won’t need to refill the prescription as often.
For cancer patients in particular, we are strong advocates for moving forward with your care in a timely and safe manner. In some cases, this may be as simple as a phone call to your physician, who determines that a delay in treatment is appropriate. Others may need to avoid delays in cancer treatment. Provision CARES Proton Therapy offers both in-person and telehealth consultations to help cancer patients make an informed decision about the timeliness of their treatment.
To learn more about Provision’s telehealth program, please read our Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions.
2. Practice preventive actions
If you decide to visit your doctor in person, there a few simple things you can do while out in public to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. These include washing your hands often, social distancing, and covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover. We encourage you to review the CDC’s guidelines on face coverings to better understand when and how to wear them, as well as which groups of people should not wear them.
All Provision CARES Proton Therapy centers have implemented preventive safety measures to protect the health and safety of our patients, employees and visitors. When you come to Provision for an in-person consultation, treatment or follow-up, you can rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep you safe. This includes limiting the number of visitors allowed with each patient and pre-screening everyone who enters our facilities.
To learn more about our pandemic response, please read our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
3. Keep a few items handy
When visiting your doctor, the CDC guidelines suggest having the following items on hand:
- Cloth face covering
- Tissues (to help you avoid touching your face)
- Hand sanitizer (should contain at least 60% alcohol)
For the safety of patients, employees and visitors, many doctor’s offices now require you to wear a face covering inside their facilities. This is true for all Provision CARES Proton Therapy centers. If you do not have your own face covering, we will be happy to provide one for you upon arrival. As an added precaution and to encourage frequent handwashing, we have also increased monitoring and refilling of soap and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our centers.
TIPS FOR OTHER ESSENTIAL TRIPS
Aside from medical visits, there are plenty of other reasons to leave your home. Whether it’s running errands, dining out, or going to the park, the CDC has guidelines for just about every situation.
Most importantly, if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough or shortness of break, the CDC recommends you stay home and avoid in-person contact with others. Try taking advantage of delivery services and online options for common errands like grocery shopping, take-out dining or banking.
Some of the CDC’s other guidelines are universal no matter what your reason for going out, including wearing a cloth face covering, social distancing, using hand sanitizer while out and about, and washing your hands when you get home.
For more specific guidelines for certain situations, please visit the links below:
Running Errands: This set of guidelines includes grocery shopping, deliveries and takeout, banking and getting gas.
Personal and Social Activities: These guidelines cover dining out, hosting a gathering, using a fitness center, going to a salon, visiting a library, and traveling overnight.
Using Transportation: This includes guidelines for the use of public transit, rideshare/taxis, and personal vehicles.
Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities: This section has some helpful Do’s and Don’ts if you plan to visit national, state, or local parks, as well as beaches, pools, and playgrounds.
As part of the Provision CARES Cancer Network, Provision CARES Proton Therapy has locations in Knoxville, Tenn. and Nashville, Tenn. If you or someone you know has cancer, we encourage you to call a treatment center near you. One of our Cancer Care Experts can speak to you about your specific diagnosis and help determine if proton therapy may be right for you.