What to Expect at Your First Appointment
Cincinnati Children’s is internationally renowned for delivering innovative cancer care to children of all ages, from babies to young adults. You will be surrounded by a compassionate and understanding team that puts your family first.
We take the time to guide you through the treatment plan, clearly explaining why it’s best for your child or you. We’ll answer your questions quickly and thoroughly, whether you’re here in our clinic or back at home reviewing everything we’ve shared.
Our cancer programs are designed around families just like yours. From keeping kids (of all ages) entertained, informed and empowered during their care to connecting parents siblings and spouses or partners with support, we’ll be here however you need us.
Learn what you can expect at your first appointment.
Making an Appointment at a Cancer Program
We want it to be easy to get cancer care. You can contact us directly to schedule an appointment or have your provider send a referral. Our team also works closely with other departments within the hospital to connect your family with additional services and care you may need.
Once we receive your request, one of our intake coordinators will quickly reach out to you to gather more details. This will include basic information about medical history, including the current diagnosis or concern, and current or past treatments. Our physicians will then review the information to determine if our clinic is the best fit for your family.
Most of our patients are first seen through a cancer program. Occasionally, our doctors recommend having a child admitted through our emergency department or transferred directly from another facility. If this is the case, we’ll work with you and the current care team to arrange for care.
Preparing for Your Appointment
You don’t have to navigate your child’s or your cancer diagnosis and care plan alone. We’ll be in frequent contact, letting you know exactly what to expect at appointments and answering any questions you have. The first thing we’ll do is gather initial information and signatures, including:
- Release of information. This will allow us to gather details from other providers.
- Insurance information. Our team will work with your insurance to review coverage and share an estimated cost with you.
- Verbal consent. For patients over age 18, we’ll need a verbal consent to share medical information with parents, spouses / partners or others.
- Health information. We’ll go over a detailed questionnaire to learn more about your child’s or your medical history, symptoms, diagnosis or concern.
- Medical records. Once we have a signed release of information (ROI), we’ll work with the current care team to gather medical records, test results, pathology or imaging that will help our team create a treatment plan.
We’ll then share these details with our care team. This will allow our providers and nurses to plan the first visit.
A visit to one of our cancer programs can be overwhelming—particularly your first appointment. You’ll receive a detailed itinerary for the day to help take any guesswork out of your visit. Your intake coordinator will email the schedule before your appointment. Please be sure to review it and let us know if you have any questions.
The itinerary will include:
- Appointment time and location. We’ve allowed for time to park, arrive and register for the appointment. Please try to arrive on time.
- Campus map.
- Our Burnett Campus clinics are in Location A. Follow signs to park near Location A.
- Our Liberty Campus clinic is within the Proton Therapy Center, near the Liberty main entrance.
- Scan or lab test appointments. Sometimes, we schedule imaging scans and other lab tests to be done on the same day as the appointment at our clinic. Details on time and location will be included in your itinerary.
- Appointment instructions. Some scans and tests require specific preparation, such as fasting. Your intake coordinator will review these instructions with you. They will also be included in your itinerary.
- Recommended clothing. Most of the time, our patients can wear whatever is most comfortable. However, some imaging tests may require certain items not to be worn. Please review all instructions.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Here are a few things you can do to prepare for your first appointment. These small steps can help you feel in control and prepared.
- Carefully review your itinerary. Your itinerary is a great resource with detailed instructions for your appointment.
- Write down questions. Find a notebook or start a note in your phone about any questions you may have. Jot them down as you go. We’ll answer every single one of them.
- Bring necessary items. These can vary for appointments, but typically include:
- Current medications (including dosage and instructions)
- Insurance cards
- Medical records
- Test results
- Completed paperwork
- Face masks for children over age 2
- Review our visitor’s policy. Our visitor’s policy can change based on illnesses that are circulating in our community. Please review the latest visiting guidelines before your appointment.
- Download the Caren app. The Caren app is our digital concierge to make your visit to Cincinnati Children’s as easy as possible. It includes parking details, directions and more.
Sometimes our patients need to be admitted to the hospital the same day as their appointment. This allows us to deliver comprehensive, continuous care.
When scheduling your appointment, your intake coordinator will let you know if your child or you might be admitted. Pack necessary clothing and other items for a potential hospital stay. We will help you prepare for admission before you arrive.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions on how to best prepare for your appointment.
On the Day of Your Visit
Arriving at Your Appointment
Please follow the itinerary and schedule for all appointments. Your itinerary will include directions on where to park (typically near Location A) for our Burnett Campus and on the right-hand side of Yankee Road when initially approaching the hospital at our Liberty campus. This lot offers easy access to the main entrance (Location A & B, Floor 1). If you are running late for your appointment, please contact us.
At Your Appointment
Our primary goal is to find the best possible treatment plan for your child or you and to bring you hope during this stressful time. Your child’s or your care—down to who they see and when—is tailored just for them. We carefully review all medical information and create an appointment and itinerary that connects you with the right specialists. Those providers may include specialists from:
- Radiation oncology
- Nutrition therapy
- Behavioral health
- Interventional radiology
- Rehabilitation medicine
- Palliative care
We’ll address your child’s or your whole health during your visit. You may also meet with:
- Social workers
- Child life
- School intervention specialists
During the appointment, we’ll spend time getting to know your child and family. Then, we’ll perform a physical exam and review medical records and test results. Our primary focus for this first visit is to educate and empower you. We’ll share our insight, explain findings and outline possible treatment options.
However, keep in mind that the treatment plan won’t be finalized until your team of specialists discusses your child’s care together as a team, in detail. This allows us to explore all possibilities and recommend the best plan.
Our clinic visits typically last about two to three hours. This doesn’t include other testing or imaging your child may have on the same day. Your itinerary will let you know how long you can expect to be at our clinic.
Cincinnati Children’s is a national referral center for the hardest-to-treat pediatric cancers. Our patients have access to both national clinical research studies as well as research studies only available at Cincinnati Children’s. Your care team will work closely with you to determine the best treatment plan for your condition.
Before You Leave
We’ll carefully review next steps. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Our care managers will work with you to schedule follow-up visits, including treatment, testing, imaging or any other appointment needed.
After Your Visit to CBDI Cancer Clinic
After your appointment, your attending oncologist may consult with other colleagues about your care plan. Your care team will call you after this meeting to share any updates or arrange another clinic visit. These meetings can provide additional insight about the diagnosis and the best possible treatment plan.
If you have any questions between your child’s appointments, please contact us directly.
Helping You Navigate Care
You’ll be assigned a nurse care manager after the first appointment. Your care manager can answer questions and connect you with resources in the community and at Cincinnati Children’s. They will be your primary contact person.
It’s important to know when to seek emergency care for a child with cancer. We’ll spend time reviewing what to do in case of an emergency. You can also contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns.