COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Provision is committed to the health and safety of our patients, employees and visitors.
We know you have many questions about the impact COVID-19 (coronavirus) has on cancer patients and cancer treatment facilities. Below are answers to some of our most commonly heard questions.
Dr. James Gray, a board-certified Radiation Oncologist and the Medical Director of Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville, has also recorded a series of short videos to help answer many of the questions he hears from patients. WATCH VIDEOS HERE
If you have any other questions, please contact the treatment location nearest you.
Is Provision CARES Proton Therapy still open?
Does Provision offer telehealth options for patients?
Yes. Telehealth consultations are now offered at all Provision CARES Proton Therapy centers through a Medicare and HIPAA compliant telemedicine program that allows electronic or virtual visits for services that were previously only permitted face-to-face. Patients can have detailed interactions with their physician over the phone or via an electronic platform, eliminating the need for patients to leave their home. Click here to learn more about Provision’s telehealth program.
What are you doing to keep patients safe?
In response to the presence of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Tennessee, Provision will comply with the most up-to-date policies and recommendations from the Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our proton therapy centers are taking preventative measures to protect the health of our patients, employees and visitors. This includes daily screening of anyone entering our proton therapy centers. Additionally, Provision is only allowing one well visitor per patient at this time.
Am I at risk if I'm currently receiving proton therapy treatment?
Cancer patients are often considered “immunocompromised,” meaning they are generally more susceptible to illness. As a result, Provision is taking preventative measures at each of its proton therapy centers to protect the health of our patients. It’s important for all patients and their immediate family/caregivers to follow CDC guidelines on reducing your risk of getting sick.
Should I cancel my treatment or follow-up appointments?
Provision is following guidance of the CDC and encouraging follow-up care for non-urgent visits through telemedicine provided through an emergency waiver under an executive order. We will determine with you over the phone if your follow-up visit should be delayed or conducted through telemedicine. The decision to delay your treatment should be discussed with your radiation oncologist.
What if I start to show symptoms of COVID-19 during my treatment?
Coronavirus symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and excessive runny nose. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Any patient experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be asked to postpone their appointment until they have been tested for the virus.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 during my treatment?
In the case of an existing patient testing positive, it will be necessary for Provision to comply with the requirements of the Tennessee Department of Health and CDC. We are strong advocates for timely cancer treatment, and we will make all necessary and appropriate accommodations within our ability to do so.
Can I stop treatment and start again once this has passed?
In general, it is not necessary for existing patients to interrupt their proton therapy treatment. Provision is taking preventative measures that allow us to continue providing treatment, while protecting the health of our patients, employees and visitors.
Are you still taking new patients?
Yes. We understand the urgency many cancer patients face. The preventative measures Provision has implemented to protect the health of our patients, employees and visitors allow us to continue scheduling consultations and providing treatment to any patient who has not tested positive for COVID-19. We also offer telehealth consultations for patients interested in consulting with a physician without leaving the comfort and safety of their home.
Should I be especially worried about getting COVID-19 if I have cancer?
Cancer patients are often considered “immunocompromised,” meaning they are generally more susceptible to illness. However, because this is not unique to COVID-19, there is no need to panic. Cancer patients should be sure to follow CDC preventative guidance, such as regular handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, social distancing (six feet recommended), and limitation of discretionary travel, especially to areas that have community spread or high case counts of the virus.
What do caregivers of cancer patients need to know about COVID-19?
The CDC recommends that family members and caregivers should know which medications their loved ones are taking and try to have some extra on hand, if possible. It’s also important to keep an eye on food and medical supplies, stocking up on non-perishable items to avoid excess trips outside the home. Caregivers should also be diligent about following the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
What if a family member shows symptoms of COVID-19?
The CDC has a comprehensive list of recommendations should a household member or caregiver become sick. This includes staying in a separate room, as well as using a separate bedroom and bathroom. It’s also recommended for both the infected family member and the cancer patient to wear a facemask, wash hands frequently and clean all “high-touch” surfaces like counters, doorknobs, phones, etc.
Is there anything cancer patients can do to boost their immune system?
There is no evidence of anything you can do to boost your immune system. However, health experts suggest there are steps you can take to allow your immune system to do its job as best it can. According to this article from Harvard Health Publishing, those steps include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and minimizing stress.
Should I wear a mask when I'm out in public?
When you need to leave your home for essential trips, wearing a cloth face covering correctly can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. The CDC has created this helpful resource page that includes information on how to create a cloth mask, wear it correctly and sanitize it. If you have a child, remember those under two years old should not wear a face covering.