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Caring Approach to Cancer Treatment During COVID-19

April 26, 2020

Cancer does not wait. It does not care about the state of the world or the way it impacts the lives of so many. Cancer demands treatment. Cancer demands care.

Fortunately, for residents of western Massachusetts, our team at Baystate Health’s Regional Cancer Program has not missed a beat, adapting quickly and strategically to the demands of the pandemic to ensure we can meet the needs of our patients.

Baystate Health Foundation Legacy Society member and longtime volunteer Elizabeth Woods is one of many receiving care at the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care. She and her husband David speak so highly of the team of specialists, nurses and others helping to take care of her.

Elizabeth notes that the team not only excels at treatment, they treat her as a whole person, with kindness and compassion.

“They are just the nicest people,” said Elizabeth. “As Dr. Mark Keroack had shared with me, they really are one big family. We are especially thankful that, instead of driving to Boston, I can receive this stellar level of care here, close to home.”

“Cancer treatment is stressful under any circumstances,” says Wilson Mertens, MD, vice president and medical director of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, patients fighting the disease now must undergo additional precautions — and sometimes delays — as our oncologists figure out the best plan for treatment while also ensuring the safety of patients and staff.”

Current care procedures

As of mid-April, Baystate Health is conducting universal screenings of any person who enters Baystate Regional Cancer Program’s treatment facilities, including patients, visitors, employees, and clinical staff members. These screenings include questions to see if those who enter have symptoms of COVID-19 and a temperature check.

For patients who are high-risk for contraction of COVID-19, the team may safely delay or adjust elements of their care to ensure their safety. Our team is also offering telehealth visits where appropriate in order to reduce the number of visitors to the center and stay connected to patients.

“The personal connection really makes a difference for cancer patients, especially right now,” says Mertens. “We are doing all we can to help relieve the additional stress and anxiety cancer patients may feel at this time, while providing the best possible treatments.”

Want to help? Join in supporting cancer care for patients during COVID-19 with a gift to Baystate Health Foundation today.