Patients & Caregivers

Patient guidelines

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) staff are committed to work as a team that includes you and your family members. To protect the health and privacy of all our patients, we follow policies and procedures described below.

Preventing infection

To protect the safety and well-being of all SCCA patients, please read these guidelines before your first visit. Caregivers should avoid coming to the clinic with cold and flu symptoms. For flu vaccine FAQs, click here. Hand hygiene stations are located in the elevator lobbies on each clinic floor as well as the parking garage. 

Fresh or dried flowers and plants are not allowed in SCCA clinics because of the organisms that grow on them and in the dirt or water, which can cause infections. Balloons and silk flowers are okay. Make sure there is no decorative moss around silk flowers. Only artificial moss is allowed.

For the comfort of our patients, SCCA is a fragrance-free environment.

Smoke-free environment

We are committed to providing an entirely smoke and tobacco-free environment for all patients, visitors, and staff. Smoking is not allowed in any area, including buildings, grounds, and parking lots.

Securing emailed information

To protect the confidentiality of personal health information we send you by email, SCCA uses an encryption service to ensure the confidentiality of personal health information we send you and to comply with federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This requires some extra steps. Zix Corporation provides SCCA the service for encrypted emails, also called secure email or secure messages, that helps keep your personal health information private.

To start, you will need to register and create a password on the secure email site. You will log in to this site to send us email or to view emails sent to you from SCCA. When we send you an encrypted message, you receive an email notice in your regular email inbox. The notice has a link and brief instructions on how to access the secure email site. This secure email site requires some extra steps, but we are confident it will allow us to communicate with you safely and efficiently by email. 

  • Access the Online Guide to learn more about the Secure Email Site.
  • Click here to register to access the Secure Email Site and send us a secure email. 
  • For help with retrieving secure email messages, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact support at support@zixcorp.com.
Service dogs

Can I bring my service dog to SCCA?

According to the American Disabilities Act (ADA), public and private hospitals and medical clinics must allow people with disabilities to bring their service dogs. At SCCA, service dogs can go with owners in almost all areas of the clinic. Service dogs are not allowed in imaging rooms, procedure suites, or in the oncology units at SCCA Hospital or University of Washington Medical Center.

What is a service dog?

According to the ADA, a service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other dog trained to help a person’s sensory, mental, or physical disability. For instance, service dogs are trained to:

  • Guide people who are blind or have low vision.
  • Alert people who are deaf, or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds.
  • Pull a wheelchair.
  • Alert and protect a person who is having a seizure.
  • Remind a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications.
  • Calm a person with post-traumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack.
  • Provide physical support and help with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.
  • Help individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

What is the difference between a service dog and a therapy animal?

Service dogs are trained to help with a task directly related to a person’s disability. People with disabilities who own service dogs are protected under the ADA. Service dogs are not pets.

A therapy animal is trained to provide comfort to one or more people. Therapy animals of any kind are not allowed in the clinic. 

Do I need to let someone know I’m bringing my service dog?

When you bring your service dog to the clinic for the first time:

  • Stop at the front desk on the first floor. Tell the front desk staff that you brought your service dog.
  • Front desk staff will ask screening questions and provide you with a SCCA yellow bandana to tie around your service dog’s neck or leash. 
  • Put the yellow bandana on your service dog’s neck or leash each time your service dog comes to the clinic.
  • If your service dog isn’t wearing an approved bandana, you will have to check in at the front desk on the first floor, even if your service dog has visited the clinic before. 

Is there a time my service dog wouldn’t be allowed in the clinic?

Your service dog will not be allowed in the clinic if it:

  • Behaves poorly and you can’t control the behavior, for example: barks repeatedly, bites.
  • Puts the health or safety of others at risk, for instance: makes messes often, wanders away from you.

Can staff help care for my service dog? 

No. You are responsible for the care and supervision of your service animal at all times. As part of this, you must:

  • Provide dog food, water, and other care, such as walks. If you can’t provide care while at SCCA, ask family members, friends, or another caregiver to help. SCCA staff are unable to provide care for service  dog.
  • Please clean up after your service dog. If you can’t clean up right away, ask family members, friends, or another caregiver to help. SCCA staff are unable to clean up after your service dog.

Other important items

Help prevent falls

To help prevent patients who may be weak from falling, we ask service dog owners to:

  • Keep your service dog at your side at all times. 
  • Keep leashes short so people don’t trip over them.
  • Keep your resting service dog out of the way of foot traffic.
  • Do not leave your service dog unattended at any time.

Help prevent infection

To help prevent infection among our many patients with severely weakened immune systems, we ask service dog owners to:

  • Clean your hands after touching a service dog. 
  • Discourage people from petting your service dog. 
  • If people pet your service dog, ask them to clean their hands afterwards.
  • Make sure your service dog stays on the floor. 
  • Do not let your service dog on any furniture.
  • Make sure your service dog stays on the floor in the shuttles to Pete Gross House and SCCA House.
Patient rights and responsibilities

SCCA respects the rights of all of our patients, equally and individually. Your rights include medical care guided by the best medical practices, participation in making informed decisions about your care, voluntary participation in medical research studies, confidentiality of your health information, and access to your medical records. As a patient of SCCA, you share in the responsibility for your care, which includes providing complete information about your health and medications, keeping appointments, promptly meeting financial obligations, and following SCCA rules. If you have concerns, we encourage you to talk with your health care team initially. If this does not resolve your issue, please contact SCCA Patient Relations at (206) 606-1056 or ptrelate@seattlecca.org.

More information

Release of medical information

If you want a copy of the medical record of your SCCA treatment, you will be asked to sign an authorization form. There is no charge for records released to you or your doctor. Contact medical records for SCCA clinics at (206) 606-1114 and for University of Washington Medical Center at (206) 744-9000.

Patient safety

SCCA takes pride in providing care of the highest quality and safety, as reflected in our high survival rates and in receiving the Joint Commission’s Golden Seal of Approval. Research shows that the best way to protect patient safety is a team approach to care—with patients and their families taking an active role.