The beginning of a cancer journey is full of questions and unfamiliarity. Our team of doctors, nurses and staff want you to feel prepared and empowered right from the start. This section will help you understand to what to expect as a patient at Riverside Cancer Institute.
Your First Visit
Your first visit to the Riverside Cancer Institute will include some new patient forms that need to be completed. Therefore, please arrive approximately 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time in order to complete the forms. We ask that you bring your insurance card(s), photo ID, and a complete list of your medications.
Your first visit will typically begin with a nurse bringing you into a room to take your vital signs (height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations). The nurse will go over your list of medications to ensure we have an accurate list. She will also ask if you are having pain. In some cases, the physician will order lab work. If that is the case, the blood will be drawn in the office at that time.
Following the nursing check-in process, you will enter an exam room to meet with the physician. Your physician will discuss the information obtained in your history forms as well as any relevant pathology and test results that were sent. Next steps will be discussed during this visit and may include additional laboratory or imaging testing prior to discussing a treatment plan.
When you are finished with the office visit, you will be asked to check out with the receptionist. At the time of check out you will be scheduled for return appointments, as indicated by your treatment plan.
The first visit typically lasts one hour.
Subsequent office visits are usually closer to 30 minutes, plus time spent awaiting lab results if you have your blood drawn prior to seeing the physician / nurse practitioner.
Once a treatment plan is established, a typical chemotherapy visit will begin with checking in at the desk. Please understand that you will be asked for a co-pay depending on your insurance at the time of check-in.
On certain days, you may need to have blood drawn for lab testing – this will be done first. Since we have the lab onsite, this may require you to wait approximately 30 minutes for results to be obtained and reviewed. If you prefer to come the day before chemotherapy for lab testing so that your wait time is minimized on the treatment day, please discuss with your nurse.
You will then be guided to the infusion area where you will meet one of the nurses. You will be set up for your treatment for the prescribed length of time. During that time, you will have access to a Riverside TV, tablet, or iPad. If you prefer, you can bring your own reading material or entertainment device. Once treatment is complete, you will check out and your schedule will be reviewed.
During chemotherapy, it is common for patients to be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner every 1-2 weeks. On those treatment days, the office visit will usually occur first, followed immediately by the infusion therapy.
Radiation Therapy – Different Radiation Therapy courses take different amounts of time to plan. For the majority of patients, the first few visits will take longer than subsequent visits:
1st Visit: This will be an office consultation with the Radiation Oncologist and often takes about an hour.
2nd Visit: This will be a CT scan known as a CT simulation. During this visit, the target will be located and your skin will be marked. It is important during this simulation process that you discuss the positioning with the Radiation Therapist. We want to ensure you are as comfortable as possible for all future treatments, and the body position during this scan is the same position you will be in moving forward. We recommend allowing about an hour for this visit, as well.
3rd Visit: This will be your first Radiation treatment visit, but will involve some additional steps to verify that everything is aligned correctly. Although the treatment will likely only take a few minutes, this visit will likely take about 45 minutes.
4th Visit and Beyond: These are typically shorter visits lasting approximately 15 minutes each. The Radiation Oncologist will see you every Monday during your treatment cycle to ensure any side effects are managed appropriately. Please feel free to communicate with the nurses and therapists at any time during treatment regarding any concerns you have!
Note * - For patients undergoing a special procedure such as Radiosurgery, the process is different. The details of the plan will be discussed extensively during the first visit (consultation visit).
Pastoral Care-Spiritual Needs and Support (Hospital-Based)
Riverside Medical Center has 24-hour pastoral care coverage. Our in-house chaplain is available from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Social Services – Financial and Social Needs
Riverside Cancer Institute has Social workers available on site to assist individuals with:
- Financial concerns- self-pay or charity care help
- Referrals to Home Health Care
- Referrals to outpatient therapy (physical, occupational, etc.)
- Caregiver issues
- Transportation issues
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- A social worker is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
A dietitian is available in the clinic certain days of the week to meet with patients regarding their dietary needs. Discussion usually involves the role nutrition plays during treatment, any nutritional concerns, current food intake and tolerance, unintentional weight loss, etc. Visits can be scheduled or consults can be done over the telephone.
Imaging services are available at the Riverside Healthcare Bourbonnais Campus, which is conveniently connected to the Riverside Cancer Institute, creating greater access to care.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation services are available on a referrals basis to Riverside Cancer Institute patients.
Products and services from Riverside Health Equipment Store are available to Riverside Cancer Institute patients. Click here to learn more.