Continuing your treatment and keeping you safe

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Continuing to provide care across the globe

Dear patients,

Continuing to deliver your care and keeping you, your fellow patients and our team safe is our top priority. Please be assured that our team is complying with the ever-evolving advice from state and national authorities. Our team has implemented a range of new measures to limit the risk of coronavirus, including staff training in managing infections, new cleaning routines and assessment processes to ensure that staff and patients who enter our facility are not demonstrating any symptoms associated with the virus. We understand your care is important, we are working tirelessly to ensure you can continue safely through your treatment without any interruptions or delays. If you have any concerns at all, please ask to speak to a Manager who will take the time to answer any questions you may have.

What are we doing to keep you safe

Providing safe and clean facilities remains a key focus, and we have increased the frequency of cleaning rounds including in high use areas such as waiting rooms, nursing stations and planning rooms.

All employees and guests are asked to practice increased vigilance with hygiene and infection control, with hand sanitizer available throughout our centres, hand washing guides displayed and other reminder notices in centres.

We are screening patients for symptoms with a phone assessment and in-centre questionnaire, and in some regions on arrival.

All other visitors and carers are being asked no to attend our centres, unless required for patient safety.

Any employees or patients who have entered Australia on or after 16 March are required to self-isolate for 14 days, in line with Australian Government measures, and as such will not be permitted into a GenesisCare facility.

GenesisCare has an emergency response plan in place which we will activate if a patient and/or employee becomes infected.

Keeping patients safe

Our advice to patients visiting our centres

Please let us know if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever or a cough. Visit the Department of Health website for information on seeking medical attention for symptoms of COVID-19, and ensure you communicate your current diagnosis and treatments to clinicians or telemedicine providers. Please call us in advance of your appointment if you are feeling unwell.

We are asking that you attend your appointment alone. Your care person should remain in the car or at home unless needed for your safety.

In order to reduce the number of people in the waiting room, please do not arrive too early for your appointment. Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment time. Where possible, we encourage a minimum of 1.5 metres between people in our waiting rooms.

We are not providing hot beverages, refreshments and newspapers/magazines. We encourage you to bring your own water bottle and to use the hand sanitiser provided before and after touching the tap.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitiser provided, avoid touching your face, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you have to cough or sneeze. Please dispose of tissues and wash hands immediately following.

People affected by cancer, cardiovascular disease and sleep and respiratory conditions may be more susceptible to infection, so kindly request that any visitors displaying symptoms of illness, such as elevated temperature, coughing, sneezing or headaches, postpone their visit.

Talk to us if your regular transport to and from our centre has been impacted and we will work with you to find a solution.

It is important that you complete the course of treatment and any medications prescribed for you. Please let us know if you wish to speak to us about any concerns you have.

Where appropriate, some of your doctor’s appointments may take place via phone or telehealth which is a videoconferencing service. Telehealth can be used for appointments with your doctor when they are at a different location to you. This will allow you and your doctor to discuss and share health information and images without the need for you to travel to a clinic. Specific details will be provided as required. This will help reduce the risk for you and other patients.

Your physical and mental health is important to us. The Cancer Council offers additional information about cancer and Coronavirus  and also offers telephone support on 13 11 20. The Heart Foundation offers additional information about heart health and also offers telephone support on 13 11 12.

We appreciate your patience and consideration as our teams work to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our patients. Thank you for your understanding and working with us to keep you, your fellow patients and our team safe.

Kind regards,

The GenesisCare Team

A message from our Chief Medical Officer

GenesisCare Oncology Australia Chief Medical Officer, A/Prof Peter O’Brien, said that: “People with cancer or cardiovascular disease may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and should exercise caution to protect themselves from the disease.”

We sat down with Peter to answer some of your questions around looking after your mental health and wellbeing during self-isolation.

"GenesisCare is here to support our people, our patients and our communities in whatever way we can." A/Prof Peter O’Brien

The Department of Health has released the COVIDSafe app to slow the spread of COVID-19. Finding and containing outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while keeping us safe.

The new COVIDSafe App is voluntary and available for download from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect yourself and your family and friends. Watch this video about how to use the app.

For more information about the app see the COVIDSafe FAQs.

Please reach out to your local centre if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Visit the Department of Health website for further recommendations on protecting yourself and others.

We understand patients are concerned about the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Here’s a message from Cancer Council to reassure you that the cancer community is here for you, and so are we.

GenesisCare delivers care both privately and on behalf of governments in many locations around the world. We acknowledge the demand that this outbreak is having on the broader public health system internationally, and will continue to work closely with health departments to provide rapid access to high quality oncology and cardiology care.

 

 

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

health & wellbeing

The outbreak of COVID-19 and practicing self-isolation can be stressful and impact our mental health and wellbeing. It’s normal to feel worried, anxious or overwhelmed about the situation and to be concerned about the affects to your health. Visit the Department of Health, COVID-19 Support website for resources to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Resources to support you:

 

  1. Look Good Feel Good

    (LGFG) are running virtual workshops for cancer patients. Visit their website to find out more.

  2. Breast Cancer Network Australia

    (BCNA) have online resources for breast patients, such as podcasts, which you can find here

  3. Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia

    (PCFA) have an online factsheet available to provide support for prostate patients.

  4. Rare Cancers

    have established a “COVID-19 hub” showcasing resources and information, such as factsheets and videos, to assist you during this time.

  5. Beyond Five

    For head and neck cancer patients, Beyond Five have a comprehensive health and wellbeing offering, with support in your local area.

For more wellbeing support, please ask your treatment team for assistance.

FAQs

I have an upcoming appointment with GenesisCare

Currently all of our centres and clinics are operating, and we are carefully assessing each patient’s individual risks to provide the best care. We are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally, implementing the latest State and Federal Government advice, and adding extra precautionary measures to maintain a safe environment for our teams and patients.

To keep our patients and staff safe we have implemented the following preventative measures:

Additional cleaning: Providing safe and clean facilities remains a key focus, and we have increased the frequency of cleaning rounds including in high use areas.

Reinforcing strict hygiene protocols: All employees and guests are asked to practice increased vigilance with hygiene and infection control, with hand sanitizer available throughout our centres, hand washing guides displayed and other reminder notices in centres.

Pre-visit screening: We are screening patients for symptoms with a phone assessment and in-centre questionnaire, and in some regions on arrival.

Yes. GenesisCare can provide you with a letter stating the need for travel and that patients are exempt from the travel ban. Please contact your local treatment centre to get a copy of a letter. Where long distance interstate travel is required, please discuss this first with your Doctor.

Please contact your local centre if you are concerned about how self-isolation may impact your treatment or procedure.

Yes, even if you’re self-isolating please keep attending your treatment appointments. Our team will let you know if you need to attend any ongoing appointments via our Telehealth service (videoconferencing) for oncology and cardiology. If you have any concerns about self-isolating please call your centre.

The Department of Health has more information for older people, available here.

Everybody is at risk of contracting COVID-19. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people living in remote communities are at greater risk from COVID-19. We encourage you to follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health to protect yourself, your mob and stop the spread.

More information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is available here.

To protect our patients, visitors and staff, all visitors and carers are being asked not to attend our centres, unless required for patient safety.

Please contact your centre prior to your appointment if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever or a cough. Visit the Department of Health website for information on seeking medical attention for symptoms of COVID-19, and ensure you communicate your current diagnosis and treatments to clinicians or telemedicine providers.

If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms the Department of Health has provided an online self-checker tool via the healthdirect website.

Alternatively, if you wish to speak to someone directly to discuss your symptoms call heathdirect on 1800 022 222.

Healthdirect are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice.

Radiotherapy is often a key treatment for reducing symptoms due to cancer. We’ll continue to provide radiation therapy to patients for palliation. If you’re concerned about attending a treatment centre and want to discuss alternative methods of symptom control for your cancer, please discuss options with your doctor.

Our centres are equipped to continue treatment if a patient contracts COVID-19 and continuation of treatment will depend on the severity of the COVID-19 infection. Every patient case will be assessed individually to ensure the highest safety of our patients and team members. Treatment times and/ or treatment plans may be adjusted but the aim of treatment of your cancer will not change.

Your risk of COVID-19 will depend on factors that affect your immune system together with other factors such as age. Factors that can influence your immune system’s ability to function may include the how long ago you had radiation therapy, duration of the treatment and other treatments such as chemotherapy. Risk of COVID-19 is assessed on a case by case basis, if you’re very concerned please contact your doctor for more advice.

In Australia, a small portion of COVID-19 community transmitted cases were contracted from asymptomatic people. It’s possible to contract COVID-19 from asymptomatic people so we encourage everyone to practice vigilance and take measures to protect themselves. You can protect yourself by practicing social distancing and reducing time spent in public places. Remember to wash your hands and try not to touch your face and mouth. To keep our patients and teams safe, in our centres we’re continuing to screen all patients, staff and visitors to assess whether they’re positive for COVID-19. We’re also restricting visitors in our centres whenever possible to keep everyone safe.

Some general FAQs on Coronavirus

While more than 80 per cent of confirmed coronavirus cases are considered not severe, the virus has proven to be dangerous, and at times fatal, in immunocompromised individuals, including the sick and elderly.

People with pre-existing health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer or respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD, are at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms from COVID-19.

For cancer patients, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can weaken their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to infections like COVID-19.

Similarly, patients with asthma or COPD are often treated with high dose steroid medication which can also dampen the immune system and put them at increased risk of infection.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection.

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with coronavirus may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have:

  • recently been in mainland China, Iran, Italy or Korea; or have travelled overseas in the last 14 days
  • been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of coronavirus.

 

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person. The virus is most likely spread through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

Everyone should practice good hygiene to protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitiser
  • Using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

In addition to the tips above, everyone should:

  • Practice social distancing: avoid close contact with others where possible and maintain a 1 metre distance. Replace kisses, hugs and handshakes with air-gives or a fist bump
  • Self-isolate if you have entered Australia on or after 16 March and if you have had close contact with a confirmed case
  • Stay at home if you have a fever, cough or sore throat. If you require medical attention, call in advance to notify the doctor of your symptoms.

Visit the Department of Health website for further recommendations on protecting yourself and others, and for COVID-19 information in other languages.

 

Cardiology COVID-19 updates

Find out information for those affected by heart disease on how we are continuing to provide cardiac care across Australia.
Learn more

Expert opinions

Advice for patients currently undergoing radiation therapy treatment

We sat down with Associate Professor Peter O’Brien, Radiation Oncologist and Chief Medical Officer, to answer some of your questions around undergoing radiation therapy during COVID-19.

Coronavirus and underlying respiratory health conditions

We sat down with GenesisCare respiratory physician, Dr Scott Claxton, to find out more about coronavirus and how it may impact people with pre-existing respiratory conditions.