Your oncologist may refer you to the palliative care team for specialized management of your symptoms. Your oncologist's office will call you and give you the date, time and location for your first appointment. They will also tell you the name of the palliative care doctor you will be seeing.
Government-issued health card (OHIP card).
List of all
medications you are currently taking. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.
See also: My First Appointment at UHN »
A trusted friend or family member.
A friend or family member can give you emotional support and can help you make good choices. They can also help you gather information, take notes and ask questions.
Questions to ask.
Bring a list of questions to your appointment to help you remember everything you want to ask.
Learn more about what to bring to your appointment »
First, check in with the
Patient Flow Coordinator. They will give you a few forms to complete:
Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS): Asks you about your physical and emotional symptoms.
Medication form and problem list: Asks you to fill in information about the medications you take and the priorities you want to discuss at your visit. Please include the dose and how many times a day you take each medication.
Estimated physical activity form: Asks you to rate how active you are based on the things you can do on your own.
Your palliative care team uses your answers to track how you are doing and to make sure your most important concerns are looked after. If you need help to fill out the forms, the nurse or doctor can do that with you in the clinic room.
The nurse or doctor will come to show you into a clinic room when it is your turn. The University Health Network (UHN) is one of the teaching sites for the University of Toronto, which means you may first be assessed by a medical learner (medical student, resident or fellow). Following the initial assessment, you will see the palliative care doctor.
After your first visit, we will schedule follow-up visits as you need them. If it becomes difficult for you to visit the clinic, we will contact your family doctor or refer you to a home palliative care doctor in your community, if one is available.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments.
- First appointments are about an hour and a half (90 minutes)
- Follow-up appointments usually take 30 minutes
We do our best to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays. For example, make sure your arrangements for things like babysitting, elder care and parking can accommodate a longer than usual appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don't get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don't be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are there to help you.
If you have any concerns or new issues between visits, please feel free to call the nursing hotline. It is very important that you leave a message on the hotline for the nurses to call you back. In your message, please state:
- Your name
- Your MRN (medical record number)
- Why you are calling
- Your phone number so we can call you back
Messages left before 4 pm will be returned the same day. Messages left after 4 pm will be returned the next business day.
We make every effort to return your call as soon as possible. If we are not able to reach you directly -- and you do not have an answering machine for us to leave a message -- you may need to call us again.