A cancer diagnosis is tough enough, now imagine it happening during a global pandemic. This World Cancer Day, hear about Jennifer Owen-O’Quill’s cancer journey during COVID-19 and how our team was able to adapt to meet her care needs.
When Jennifer Owen-O’Quill received her cancer diagnosis, she never imagined the COVID-19 pandemic would hit and turn her world even more upside down. Thankfully, during this time of uncertainty, she has found lots of comfort in her care team at Bon Secours.
Immediately following her diagnosis at the end of January 2020, Jennifer recalls William Irvin, MD, medical director of medical oncology and director of clinical research at Bon Secours Cancer Institute being generous with his time. In fact, he spent two and a half hours with her making sure she understood her diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options. Together, they made a care plan.
Then COVID-19 hit. The country started working to slow the spread of this virus with stay-at-home orders. Unfortunately, cancer waits for no one. Jennifer, like many other cancer patients, had no choice but to continue treatment in a different way.
Health care facilities began following new, ever-evolving guidelines from state and federal agencies. Our entire ministry, including our cancer care teams, worked around the clock to find new ways to continue care while ensuring the safety and well-being of patients. Some of these precautions include screening patients as they enter our facilities, restricting visitors and providing more opportunities for virtual care.
Jennifer was one of the first patients in the Richmond, VA cancer program to participate in virtual visits. She has found that these video chats offer her an opportunity to connect with her providers in a new and different way than traditional in-office visits.
“During our virtual visits, I’m often speaking with my providers while they are located in their own offices. So, I’m able to see things like family photos and decorations hanging on the walls,” Jennifer shares. “It’s those small details that help humanize my doctors and allows me to feel more connected to them even though we are physically separated. I find that they are often more relaxed themselves and have quicker access to resources they want to share with me, which is much more convenient for them.”
Learn more about the cancer care services offered at Bon Secours.