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Patient and Cancer Resources

New Patient Orientation

Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening.  Through understanding the process of cancer treatment one can help subdue their fears and help prepare for recovery.  If you have just received your diagnosis the following information can help you be prepared for your first visit with Coastal Integrative Cancer Care.

How to prepare for the first office visit:

  1. Complete the Patient Registration Forms
  2. Bring all Medical Records that you have

You can:

  • Fax the forms to (805) 595-3231
  • Mail to our office before your appointment
  • Bring them with you at the time of your first visit

What to expect with your initial consultation:

  1. Establish a relationship with your main medical care provider.  This person will be the, "Quarterback," of your team.  Most often your treatment will involve many other providers, such as other physicians, physical therapists, dieticians, naturopathic doctors and research treatment centers.  We feel it is of utmost importance that we keep a clear, open line of communication with all providers involved in your treatment. 
  2. Allow your physician the opportunity to assess your patient history, records and perform a physical exam.  Very often additional laboratory testing or radiological imaging will be needed before a definitive diagnosis, staging and treatment plan can be established.
  3. Arrange additional referrals if necessary, to other providers such as physician specialists, a dietician, a nurse navigator, and appropriate complimentary providers.
  4. Meet our Staff at SLO Oncology & Hematology Health Center.  Members of our team that may be involved with your care include nurses, patient care coordinators, nurse navigators, as well as our billing and insurance specialists.
  5. Expect a direct referral to the Nurse Navigator at the Hearst Cancer Resource Center
  6. If you would like, we can set you up with an account for "See Your Chart".  This is an online resource where you can view your appointments, lab results, vitals, and additional information about your diagnosis.  Please ask for details at your visit.

Complementary Care Providers:

An integrative approach to patient care recognizes that improved outcomes can be obtained when combing complementary treatments that support conventional Western medicine.  We recognize the benefits of complementary therapies in managing disease and treatment related issues including: pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, smoking habits, anxiety, stress management, phobias, fatigue and depression. If you have an interest in complementary therapies, we can assist with arranging consultations with appropriate local providers.

Your psychosocial support team:

For many of our patients, dealing with cancer or a blood disorder can be the greatest challenge they have ever faced.  No one is expected to face this challenge alone.  Often friends, family members and loved ones are more than willing to show how much they care and will ask the question, "What can I do to help?"

As difficult as it might be for many people to accept assistance, this is an opportunity for you to let those people who care about you express their feelings.  Seeing a loved one fight a life-threatening illness can be devastating.  It can often be very therapeutic for those around you to get involved in the healing process.

It is important to use your friends, family and loved ones to build your unique psychosocial support team.  Ask if one or two individuals would be willing to take on each of the following roles:

  1. Secretary. Someone who can attend all visits with you, pay attention and take notes.  This person may also be willing to help with in-home tasks such as opening mail and paying bills.
  2. Drivers. (Based on availability this is often a group of people who can help you get to visits and appointments)
  3. Research coordinator. Someone who can surf the internet for you to get information about your illness and provide appropriate questions for your doctor.  Remember, "Dr. Google" can provide a lot of misinformation and get very confusing.  Ask us and we can help provide reliable Websites for useful information.
  4. Gopher. Someone who can, "go for" the things we often take for granted when we are not feeling ill: groceries, mail, laundry.
  5. Maid. When we feel bad, we do not want to clean the house.
  6. Cook. Set up a volunteer list of friends and neighbors to schedule and provide home-cooked healthy meals on a regular basis.
  7. Trainer. Have someone that can be your motivator and exercise partner to keep you as active as doctor recommends.
  8. Emotional support group. Ask a select, few, special people in your life if they can be the ones that can listen to your complaints, fears, and worries

Information Exchange:

In order to optimize your care, maximize the value of your time spent with your care providers and minimize delays in getting answers to your questions, accurate and efficient communication is extremely important.

These are some helpful ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Try to use the same lab and radiology services so comparisons can be appropriately made as results progress.
  2. Ask at the time of service that all labs and radiology results are sent to us and all of the other providers involved in your care
  3. When communicating with our office, ask to speak to the appropriate person (or direct your e-mail to the appropriate person) as we have separate specialists and coordinators in the following departments:
    1. Scheduling appointments
    2. Scheduling of procedures and tests
    3. Clinical questions regarding symptoms and treatment side-effects
    4. Billing
    5. Routine lab results
    6. Pediatrics
    7. Clinical Trials   

Hearst Cancer Resource Center

Here at the SLO Oncology & Hematology Health Center, we affiliate ourselves closely with the Hearst Cancer Resource Center (HCRC), located on the 2nd floor of French Hospital.  The director, Shannon D'Acquisto is a breast cancer survivor herself and is fully dedicated to helping our patients along their cancer journey.

We strongly encourage each patient to consult the HCRC, and specifically the Nurse Navigator, Julie Neiggemann, RN, MSN, OCN or for Spanish speaking patients contact Eloisa Medina, directly after their first visit with us in order to take advantage of their vast and amazing services.

Their services include:

  • Nurse Navigator: An oncology trained nurse to help guide patients and families from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.  Focus is on education, resources, and emotional support for patients and caregivers who are often overwhelmed by their lack of knowledge about cancer and its treatment.
  • Lay Patient Navigator: Trained Spanish speaking navigator who specializes in community outreach, education, and support for the Hispanic population.
  • Social Services and Support Programs: Offering access to one-on-one counseling, financial assistance, transportation, Medicare and private insurance information, and community resources for patients and caregivers.  Numerous support groups for all cancer patients and their caregivers as well as monthly groups for those diagnosed with prostate, breast, or blood cancers and young survivors.
  • Nutritional Consultation: Free one-on-one consultation with a registered dietician specializing in the nutritional needs of cancer patients from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship. 
  • Complementary Therapies: Relaxation and movement based practices to support and promote healing during all stages of treatment and survivorship.  Examples include acupuncture, energy balance, guided meditation, mindfulness, tai-chi, and art therapy.
  • Education and Lecture Series: Presented by medical professionals knowledgeable in cancer care including a monthly class reviewing risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment options for lymphedema and cooking classes for healthy eating.
  • Honor Library and printed resources for all cancer diagnosis, screening guidelines, genetic counseling, caregiving, nutrition, and coping skills/inspiration.

Hearst Cancer Resource Center
1941 Johnson Ave, Suite 201A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 542-6234