We want to provide information that will help our patients prepare for their first appointment at Smilow Cancer Hospital and the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers. Our goal is to make sure our patients are fully informed about their treatment and comfortable asking their care team questions if they are unsure of their treatment plan or need help with any issues arising from your cancer treatment. The physicians, nurses, and support staff at Smilow Cancer Hospital are committed to easing the worry of our patients’ cancer treatment and are here to offer the support they need.
In order for us to provide the best treatment plan for each of our patients, we need to clearly and completely understand their medical history and the treatment they may have had to date. A nurse coordinator and/or intake specialist will contact patients by phone to assist in gathering the necessary information prior to their first visit and to let them know what to expect when they arrive.
It is important for patients to gather the following items prior to their first appointment:
Medical Records & Written Reports
Our intake specialists will help to facilitate the transfer of records before the appointment.
A List of Current Medications
This includes all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, alternative medications, and supplements. If preferred, patients can bring the original medication containers with them to the visit.
This includes X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, ultrasounds, and current mammography. It is important that our physicians review the actual films in addition to the written reports. Our intake specialists will help to facilitate the transfer of records before the appointment.
Pathology Slides and Reports
If someone has been diagnosed with cancer, then a pathologist has already made a diagnosis by reviewing a biopsy or tumor specimen. It is beneficial to our patients for Smilow Cancer Hospital to confirm this diagnosis by reviewing the slides. Our intake specialist will facilitate the transfer of the slides to Smilow.
Insurance ID Card
Patients should notify their insurance company prior to the visit. The insurance company may require a formal referral from the referring physician, and they may give patients a formal referral authorization to ensure that the cost of the visit is covered. A patient registrar will contact each patient prior to the visit to obtain all contact and insurance information. Any co-pays will be collected at the time of the appointment.
It is always a good idea for patients to bring a list of questions to ask the physician. In addition, we encourage patients to bring a family member or significant other to help take notes and ask questions. The nurse coordinator can help create a list of questions in preparation for the visit.
Interpreter services are available at no charge, but need to be coordinated prior to the appointment. We ask that patients advise the intake specialist if they would benefit from this service. We prefer to have an interpreter available to patients in addition to the support of their family members.
Patients should notify patient registration 24 hours in advance if they need to reschedule their appointment. If assistance is needed before the appointment, contact 1-855-4-SMILOW.
Oncology Pharmacy Services
Our oncology pharmacy team serves as a key member of all multidisciplinary cancer care teams across the Smilow Care Centers and Smilow Cancer Hospital. We work collaboratively with doctors and other health care providers to ensure that our patients receive safe, effective, and timely cancer care. We provide personalized medication therapy and services to support all of our patients’ medication needs. Our team consists of oncology pharmacists who are trained in the care of patients with cancer and cancer-related illnesses, as well as certified pharmacy technicians who serve as experts in compounding of chemotherapy and other medications.
Patients are commonly taking numerous medications for their cancer or any other chronic condition(s). Oncology pharmacists, at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Smilow Cancer Care Centers, will educate patients and help them manage any expected side effects of cancer treatment.
Medication regimens can be complex and confusing, and our pharmacy team can provide guidance on how to take these medications, such as what time to take them, whether to take them on a full or empty stomach, and whether it is okay to take different medications together. Ask your physician or nurse to speak with our team to learn more.
Specialty Pharmacy Services
Specialty Pharmacy Services are designed to ensure access to specialty medication needs. Specialty medications are those used to treat cancer that can be complicated to manage and which may require coordination of care.
Benefits of Specialty Pharmacy Services:
24/7 access to specialty pharmacy staff and clinical pharmacists for questions and concerns
We work closely with all care providers to create the safest, most effective treatment program for each patient.
Our specialty pharmacy technicians will work to ensure delivery of monthly refills with all additional supplies that may be needed.
We will handle all the details for shipment and delivery of specialty medications.
We offer education and support from specialty pharmacists with years of experience.
We work closely with patients and their insurance company to navigate the insurance process.
We provide access to language assistance services for more than 15 languages.
Medication Assistance Program
Launched in 2010, the Medication Assistance Program (MAP) at Smilow Cancer Hospital assists patients with high out-of-pocket costs for their chemotherapy and cancer care medications. This includes medication replacement, in which pharmaceutical companies provide medicine free of charge; and co-pay assistance, in which foundations or institutions cover a patient’s co-pays. MAP coordinators collaborate across the Yale New Haven Health System to enroll patients in manufacturer- and foundation-funded medication assistance programs. This allows cancer patients to focus on their physical and mental health, rather than on the burden of their medical expenses.
A diagnosis of cancer can be stressful to patients and their families. Smilow Cancer Hospital has licensed clinical social workers available to help patients manage their feelings and concerns throughout their cancer care, especially during this challenging time. In addition, our social workers also facilitate many support groups available virtually for your participation. Support groups provide the opportunity to receive emotional and educational support and to talk with others who are undergoing similar treatment or who have successfully completed treatment.
We also work with parents to help children of any age as they come to understand their parents’ illness and treatment. We can help clarify how children cope with their parents’ diagnosis and, if further support is necessary, offer guidance on how to obtain it. Some resources include:
Smilow Cancer Hospital Supportive Care Access Program
At Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center we recognize that no two cancer journeys are alike. A robust, multidisciplinary team is available to ensure support systems are in place to assist patients in navigating their cancer treatment. A variety of programs are available before, during, and after active treatment that go beyond physical healing. Our Supportive Care Referral Coordinators help patients and their family members navigate the services available with an individualized approach.
Who can benefit?
All patients with cancer who are in active treatment or in a survivorship stage, as well as family members, may utilize our Smilow Supportive Care Referral Coordinators. The coordinators ensure that all patients and family members are informed of the services they may utilize while they navigate their cancer journey.
How is it accessed?
Smilow Supportive Care Referral Coordinators are available on-site Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Resource Center on the first floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven. To inquire about services, or for a preliminary discussion about the supportive care offerings, you may also reach the Referral Coordinators at 203-200-4636 or by email at SmilowSupportiveCare@ynhh.org
Smilow Supportive Care Referral Coordinators act as a liaison for patients and family members for guidance and information surrounding the supportive care programs at Smilow Cancer Hospital and our Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers. The coordinators screen patients for appropriate referral to the following supportive care programs:
Genetic Counseling and Screening
Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Patient & Family Resource Center
The Patient and Family Resource Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital exists to provide a place where patients and families can obtain information on cancer-related topics as well as hospital and community services, all within a serene, comfortable setting. The Resource Center provides computer workstations with internet access for research purposes or personal business. A lending library offers hundreds of titles containing current information on cancer-related topics, as well as a selection of relaxation/meditation CDs. In addition, the Resource Center is the site of regularly scheduled events, including educational programs, drop-in discussions with hospital staff, and creative activities workshops.
Visitors can browse the collection of cancer-related reading material. Titles include popular releases and cover everything from personal stories about overcoming cancer to science, philosophy, and children's literature.
The Smilow Hospitalist Service cares for hematology and oncology inpatients at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
A Hospitalist is a physician who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients. The Smilow Hospitalists are board certified/board eligible physicians in Internal Medicine and/or Hematology and Oncology. The Hospitalists dedicate all their time to inpatient clinical care.
Your Smilow Hospitalist physician works very closely with your primary hematologist and oncologist, collaborating on treatment decisions and follow up care planning. You may also meet a consulting hematology/oncology expert who will further support your inpatient care.
The mission of the Smilow Hospitalist Service is to provide the highest quality evidence-based inpatient care with empathy and kindness.