Chemotherapy treatment is provided in Karen’s Room, a special environment for patients and their families at WGH. The room opened in April 2003 and is named in memory of Karen Wiederkehr. She provided the inspiration for the room, so patients and their loved ones would have a quiet and comfortable place for treatment. Her husband, Jack Kobayashi, a local architect, supported this dream and helped make her legacy come true through donations from many community partners.
On your initial visit (before the start of treatment), you will have an opportunity to become more familiar with the room and meet your hospital care team.
- General Practitioners in Oncology (GPO) (local Whitehorse physicians with current specialized oncology training) offer dedicated medical care while in hospital for treatment
- Registered Nurses offer highly specialized patient care and administer your treatment
- Dedicated, on-staff Pharmacist reviews physician orders, prepares chemotherapy and serves as an expert resource for you to discuss treatment, other medications or therapies you may be taking
This team works closely with your family physician, oncologist, dietitian, physiotherapist, social worker, cancer care navigator and other members of your health team to ensure we follow your personal care plan. You are also an essential part of the team and we encourage you to provide on-going input during your treatment.
What to Expect at Each Visit
- The day before treatment, you will have an appointment scheduled with your GPO
- On the morning of your GPO appointment, you will need to have blood drawn. To have this done, you'll need register at the lab (which opens at 7 a.m.) located in the atrium of the hospital.
- Your GPO will assess you to ensure your chemotherapy treatment should proceed and provide you a treatment time scheduled for the next day
- Arrive at Karen's Room on your scheduled treatment time. If you are early for your appointment, the nurse may ask you to wait outside the room and let you know when she is ready to bring you inside.
What to Expect on your First Visit
- Arrive at Karen's Room at the scheduled time
- A list of all medications (pills or other drugs) you take as well as the bottles or packages they came in – this includes prescriptions, vitamins, pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil, health supplements and herbal remedies
- Your first visit will include teaching from your nurse and will be about 30 minutes longer than regular appointments. It's a good idea to bring a support person with you as you are given a lot of information
- You will also have an opportunity to meet your hospital care team
- You may receive medications that could impair your driving. If possible, arrange for someone to pick you up after your treatment until we know how your body reacts to these medications.
How to Prepare
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Pack a light meal or snack (most chemotherapy over lunch time)
- Bring activities such books, magazines or videos
- Bring computer or mobile device
- Arrange to have a support person with you during treatment
- Arrange for a friend or family member to provide transportation home after treatment
- Arrange for accommodation, if needed. Contact the Cancer Care Navigator, who can provide information about nearby options for out-of-town patients
- Do not wear scents or perfumes as Karen's Room and the hospital are scent-free environments
Amenities for Patients and Families
The room is outfitted with homemade quilts and comfortable seating to create a more personal, relaxed atmosphere. There are also a number of home amenities for patients and families to use, including tablets, coffee/tea, coffeemaker and kettle. The restroom located in Karen's Room is for patients only and a visitor restroom is located in the Specialist Clinic.
There is also free wireless internet available to patients and visitors.