Preparing Your Patients with Cancer for the Holidays

AONN+ Blog published on November 29, 2021
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

Patients who are clearly immune compromised (eg, receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy, or who have advanced disease) need to be very careful of being in the presence of individuals who are not vaccinated for COVID19. And remember, if someone has contracted COVID-19 in the past, that doesn’t protect them from getting the virus again and spreading it to others. Ideally, our patients with cancer should be in the company of family and friends who HAVE been fully vaccinated. Our patients themselves should be fully vaccinated and should have received their booster as well. This gives our patients the best opportunity for protection against individuals who may pass the virus to them. If there will be family or friends who are not vaccinated, then these individuals should do the right thing and test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of visiting the patient. Some pharmacy chain stores have run low on their supplies of test kits, but still has lots of them. Individuals should be advised to purchase these test kits now so they have them for the holidays—starting with Thanksgiving—and continuing through New Year’s Day. They average $24 for a kit that contains 2 tests with easy-to-follow instructions and provide results in just 20 minutes. In fact, testing should be done for visitors of all ages and not reserved just for adults who are unvaccinated.

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