Make sure to bring:
Government-issued health card (OHIP card)
Medications that you need to take. Appointments can take several hours. Bring with you any medications that you normally take during the day.
In addition to your OHIP card, you may also want to bring:
Food/drink. You may wish to bring some food with you as chemotherapy appointments can last for much of the day. There is a microwave oven in the unit if you want to heat up your food. Please do not bring anything with a strong smell, such as microwave popcorn, as it may make other patients nauseous.
A cell phone. Be considerate of others while using your cell phone in the waiting areas. Please leave the treatment area to use your phone.
A laptop computer. We have free wireless Internet access for you to use while you wait.
A book or magazine. Books and magazines on health and cancer-related topics are available in the
Patient & Family Library and
Other diversions. You may wish to bring knitting, crossword puzzles or other diversions to pass the time.
A friend or family member. Please bring only 1 person with you. We recommend that children under 12 years old not be brought to the centre. There is a free
child care service (The Magic Castle) on the main floor for children under 12.
What happens during your appointment will depend on the type of treatment you receive.
There are many steps to having your blood counts checked. You have to “check-in” to clinic and have your blood taken (from either your central line or from your vein). Your blood then has to go to the lab to be analyzed, which can take about 1 hour. After your results are entered into the computer, the nurse will need to see your results before calling you into the unit. If you need to have a blood or platelet transfusion, the lab has to be notified and prepare the blood/platelets, which can also take about 1 hour.
Blood transfusion is a procedure in which you are given blood or a blood product such as platelets, for example. This may be done through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your veins or through a central venous catheter (CVC),
peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) or
port-a-cath (PAC). Blood transfusions are done when your body is not able to produce enough blood on its own, and also as part of your cancer treatment.
A special blood test is required before blood transfusion to match the blood/blood product to you. This can take up to 3 hours. The transfusion itself usually takes 1 to 4 hours, depending on how much blood you need.
Treatments for Leukemia also take place in the Malignant Hematology Day Unit.
You can wait in the waiting room or elsewhere at the Princess Margaret for your appointment once you have checked in at reception. If you want to wait elsewhere, before leaving the centre you should:
- Check in and get a hospital bracelet.
- Get a pager at the reception desk. We will page you when it is your turn for treatment. Pagers do not work outside the hospital, or below the main floor.
- You can also give us your cell phone number after you check in, if you prefer to be called for treatment.
We offer several resources and services to help you pass the time.