Ovarian Cancer Canada

Western Regional Blog – BC, YK, AB, NWT and Nunavut

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer – Getting Quality Care & Managing Fatigue

b&wflowerGetting Quality Care as a Cancer Patient: What you can expect, what you can do

The Canada Health Act aims to “protect, promote and restore the physical and mental
well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health
services without financial or other barriers.” Likewise, your healthcare providers aim
to uphold these principles by offering the best quality care possible, based on current
scientific knowledge and available resources.
As a cancer patient, or as the guardian or advocate of a cancer patient, you should
expect:
• treatment in a qualified hospital or cancer centre by well-trained professionals
• a timely and correct diagnosis by a cancer specialist
• the best standard of care available for all stages of illness, including tests,
diagnosis, surgery, drug treatment, follow-up, support, and palliative care
• privacy, confidentiality, protection of personal information, and access to your
medical records or those of your loved one
• that healthcare providers will explain to you the best treatments available,
including new or experimental treatments
• sensitive care in which all possible steps are taken to reduce harm
• respect for cultural, racial, gender, and religious differences, as well as
differences in age, sexual orientation, financial situation, and physical, mental
and intellectual abilities
• that your healthcare team will provide or direct you to other services you may
need, including:
o counselling or support (“psychosocial services”) from psychologists,
social workers, cancer nurses, spiritual leaders, or community support
groups
o information about financial support for costs that are not covered, e.g.
drug coverage, transportation
o translation or interpretation
o information about accessing care or treatment that is not locally
available
o any services required by family or other caregivers as they support you
or your child/loved one through cancer

As a cancer patient, or as the guardian or advocate of a cancer patient, you are
entitled to ask questions, be informed, and take part in decisions about your or your
loved one’s care, including:

• expressing any concerns about treatment 2

• asking for information in clear, understandable language
• asking for a second opinion without fear that treatment will be affected
• exploring treatment options in other provinces or countries
• deciding whether students or researchers are present
• being informed and making decisions about alternative or complementary
treatments
• refusing any course of treatment
• seeking legal advice about a complaint if necessary

You can enhance the quality of care by providing your healthcare team with as much
information as possible in the following areas:
• past and present health concerns, hospital stays, medications, etc., including
information about home, social life, school, or work that might influence care
• any difficulties you may have in complying with treatment schedules and
appointments
• any difficulties you may have in affording treatment or related expenses
• any legal issues or documents that relate to care or decision-making e.g. power
of attorney or court orders
• the need for translation or interpretation services
• emotional distress, isolation, or depression, and the need for social or peer
support

~ Prepared for the Cancer Journey Action Group, May 2008

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