Advice for Oncology Patients COVID-19

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National Children’s Cancer Service

CHI at Crumlin COVID-19 Helpline

CHI at Crumlin COVID-19 Helpline

If you have a general query related to COVID-19, CHI at Crumlin have set up a helpline Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm on (01) 4096117.

If you have a specific clinical query, please continue to contact the oncology department in the usual manner.

We continue to advise families to seek medical care appropriately through the same channels as before (your GP, your emergency room, your clinical nurse specialist, your local hospital) and not to avoid or postpone review if concerned.

Click here for information for all CHI families attending the hospital during COVID-19

Click here for Information for Parents/Guardians of patients on chemotherapy

Click here for Resources for Children

Click here for Information for survivors of childhood cancer

Information from the CHI Oncology Team for parents/guardians of patients on chemotherapy in relation to COVID-19

Updated 1 April 2020

  1. Covid -19 has not to date been shown to significantly affect children. However, chemotherapy reduces the ability of the immune system to fight infection.  Therefore, your child may be at higher risk of illness from the virus.

  2. Be compliant with the stay-at-home/restricted movement measures currently in place nationwide, at least until April 12th, as published by the HSE (https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/.   

  3. Despite your child being in an at risk group, relative to their underlying cancer/tumour diagnosis and treatment thereof, visits to the hospital for scheduled treatment and in case of emergency need (for e.g. for a fever), remain an essential component of your child’s care.

  4. Your child can only be accompanied by one parent/guardian when coming to the hospital. Access into the hospital is strictly controlled.

  5. Please ensure the parent/guardian who brings them to the hospital is well, and does not have a fever or cough

  6. Elective chemotherapy and theatre schedules will continue as usual and for as long  as is feasible. Any delays or rescheduling will be communicated to you by phone.

  7. All active treatment clinics are continuing for now. Appointment time slots are being issued by phone to minimise numbers in the waiting area of HOOPS. If early arrival, please wait in your car until your time slot.  Please do not attend these scheduled appointments if your child has recently developed a cough or a fever. (see point 13, 17)

  8. All children on oral chemotherapy should continue this unless instructed otherwise by their CNS/Consultant.

  9.  All follow up clinics/long-term follow up clinics are being deferred. Some may switch to virtual/telephone clinics – parents will be notified in these cases.

  10. Elective imaging/scans are continuing however the appropriateness of such will be decided upon by your child’s consultant. If imaging can safely be deferred it will be. Please keep your appointments for such unless instructed to do otherwise.

  11. We may be required to swab your child for COVID 19 in advance of a scheduled  theatre visit. If this is the case we will communicate this to you in advance.

  12. Thorough hand washing and cough hygiene (cough into elbow, discard used tissue and wash hands) measures continue to be essential.

  13. If your child has a fever, please call your local hospital or St. John’s ward (after 5pm) or HODU (8am to 5pm), as you would normally.

  14. Please do not arrive into the HODU unannounced for routine assessment of a temperature. Phone first so that an assessment can be made about where to place you and your child on arrival to hospital.

  15. Please inform the Nurse or Doctor on the phone if your child has any of the following in addition to fever: cough, sore throat, runny nose, difficulty breathing

  16. Inform us if you or your child has been exposed to anyone with known/suspected COVID-19 or anyone who is awaiting a COVID-19 test result or anyone who has had recent foreign travel.

  17. Please attend your shared care centre if your child is unwell as is normal practice.

Resources for Children

Please click on the links below for useful information for children prepared by our Psychology team, as well as some additional resources. 

I feel worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

My Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Story

Social Distancing - Staying Home and Staying Safe

Superheroes and Masks

Talking to Children about Illness

Coronavirus Explained for Children

Survivors of childhood cancer: COVID-19 Recommendations

Updated 14 April 2020

There is some concern amongst survivors of childhood cancer relative to their COVID-19 related risk-status. It is important to therefore note the following:

1. The majority of survivors of childhood cancer will not be at-risk, as defined by the at-risk group of patients by the HSE - https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/at-risk-groups.html).

2. Please continue to follow the current restrictions on movement outside of your home that remain in force, since 27/03/2020, for all.

3. If any survivor has a long-term medical condition, regardless of the cause of such, it is recommended that you practice further measures to shield yourself. Such medical conditions include, as a matter of example heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease (such as a stroke), kidney/renal disease, liver disease and high blood pressure. These further measures include not leaving your home if at all possible.

4. Out of this at-risk group, as detailed above, there is a further vulnerable group of people for whom additional protective measures (collectively termed - cocooning) are recommended. The HSE website, details these measures further and explains who is included in this group - https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/cocooning.html.

For comprehensiveness, this group includes the following people:

  • are over 70 years of age - even if you're fit and well

  • are solid organ transplant recipients

  • have cancer and are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer

  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment (i.e. receiving treatment for such)

  • are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer

  • are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors

  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

  • have severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD

  • have rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)

  • are on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection

  • are pregnant and have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

These extra measures (cocooning) are outlined in the above website.

5. If you are unsure if you need to ‘cocoon’ please ask your doctor for further advice.

6. The International Guideline Harmonization Group (IGHG) for Late Effects of Childhood Cancer have published their guidelines on COVID-19 – this can be accessed at: https://www.ighg.org/. Please be aware these are international guidelines and it remains important to follow the guidelines implemented by your local jurisdiction first and foremost.