On May 19, ASCO released the ASCO Special Report: A Guide to Cancer Care Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which provides detailed guidance to oncology practices on the immediate and short-term steps that could be taken to help protect the safety of patients and healthcare staff before resuming more routine care operations during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The report is now available in:
- Chinese (simplified)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
- Spanish (Latin America).
The COVID-19 pandemic has required oncology practices to make operational changes to protect the safety of patients and staff, adjust to resource shortages, and comply with national and state restrictions on elective procedures. Now that communities across the globe are beginning to gradually ease pandemic-related restrictions, oncology practices are thinking about how they can safely restore patient access to diagnostics, treatments, and other critical cancer care services.
The ASCO special report summarizes a wide range of policies and practices developed by cancer facilities, as well as guidance provided by government agencies and other medical societies, including:
- Best practices for triaging/screening patients before appointments to reduce infection risk
- Guidance for providing cancer care to patients who are COVID-19-positive or being monitored for COVID-19
- Considerations for communicating with staff and patients about new protocols to protect patient health and safety
- Suggested policies and protocols for limiting infection spread by health care personnel through screening, testing, modified sick leave, work-from-home policies, and other measures
- Guidance for establishing physical distancing policies in clinical, administrative, and non-patient care areas of cancer facilities.
The ASCO guide also addresses best practices for prioritizing and scheduling telemedicine visits, and it provides suggestions for when and how to reestablish cancer screenings and other critical cancer care, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, and ancillary services.
The report was developed by a group of ASCO expert volunteers who work in diverse practice settings, and it is not intended to provide recommendations for care of individual patients. ASCO also encourages practices to consider internal cancer center and practice policies; local, medical board, and municipality regulations; and other pertinent guidance to determine if and how they can safely resume services.
This guide is part of ASCO’s ongoing commitment to provide timely information and resources to the cancer community on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis. ASCO’s tools, data, and information on COVID-19 are available at asco.org/asco-coronavirus-information.
ASCO’s efforts to support patients, members, and the larger cancer community during the COVID-19 pandemic are supported in part by Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation. Learn more about ASCO’s foundation at CONQUER.ORG.