RCC Notice Regarding Treatment Protocols for Re-Opening

The team at RCC is pleased to announce that we will be re-opening our clinic to patient care on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.  The impact of COVID-19 on all our daily lives has led us to revamp our patient protocols for in-office visits.  It is important that you read through the following information carefully as each patient will need to follow these guidelines in order to be scheduled and seen in our practice.  We truly look forward to seeing each and everyone one of you soon.

 

Precautions for Preventing the Transmission of Infection at the Reproductive Care Centre:

Health and Safety:

*       Screening will be done over the phone 24-hours prior to your appointment and when you check in for your appointment. Your temperature will be checked upon entry to the clinic.

o   If you do not pass the screening, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic and you will be followed up by phone with instructions.

*       It is required that you wear a mask (medical or non-medical) when you enter the clinic. If you do not have one, the clinic will provide one per patient/per cycle (due to limited supply) for purchase.

*       Please sanitize your hands on entrance and exit of the clinic.

COVID-19 Screen Questions:

24-Hours prior to your appointment you will be contacted and asked if you have any of the following:

–  Fever (> 38C), chills, repeated shaking with chills, or feeling feverish
–  Cough (new or chronic exacerbation)
–  Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
–  Runny nose/congestion (new or chronic exacerbation), sore throat
–  New loss of sense of smell/taste
–  Muscle pain
–  A family member/or close work colleague that has COVID19 (or is awaiting test results)
–  A travel history from any country or province with a travel restriction within the last 14 days Limit in Office Traffic

 

*       Starting May 19, 2020, our clinic hours will be 7am-3pm, Monday-Saturday.

*       Please arrive on time for your appointment and wait in the car for a phone call with instruction to enter the clinic.

*       Only patients are allowed in clinic – no visitors, kids, or partners (some exceptions apply).

*       All physician consultations and nursing appointments will continue to be virtual appointments.

*       In clinic visits are by appointment only – No drop-ins.

*       Curb side pickup for medications – call when you arrive to clinic.

*       Bloodwork: Only cycle monitoring and beta bloodwork done at the clinic – New patient bloodwork must be done at an outside lab.

Physical Distancing

*       Maintain 2m distancing – tape on the floor to outline acceptable areas to stand.

*       There will be assigned seating in the waiting room.

*       There will be staggered appointment times.

*       Our Information Sessions will be conducted virtually

*       We have installed Plexiglas barriers

*       Dedicated patient-only washrooms

*       2nd level of clinic is closed

Please note: The clinic has the same protocols for cancelled cycles in light of COVID-19. The clinic will not be responsible for fees for service already provided and medication refunds. The clinic staff have the right to deny access or cycle cancellation based on the clinic screening protocol.

 

A Letter To Our Patients – April 27, 2020

Dear Valued Patients,

Alongside all Canadians, RCC has made significant efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve. We acted swiftly and responsibly in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we will likely succeed in minimizing a surge of COVID-19 cases that could be devastating to the hospital system, these efforts also translate on a societal level into a prolonged course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become apparent that life will not return to ‘normal’ for several remaining months.

At RCC, we feel that is it not reasonable or even possible to continue to suspend fertility treatments. Fertility issues are medical. Like many medical conditions, it is essential to continue treatments as soon as safely possible since there is a timeline that effects prognosis. We are actively planning for a gradual re-opening in mid May 2020, however timelines could be affected by factors beyond our control. In the meantime, we will continue to conduct consultations by phone with the goal of having an updated plan in place to minimize any treatment delays when we are ready to accept you for care.

Careful consideration of the process in which we provide care during this pandemic is essential. We are actively consulting with several regulatory bodies to ensure a safe environment at RCC. Informed consent by patients addressing limitations of the measures we take to reduce but not eliminate risk secondary to COVID-19 is critical. Patients and staff all have unique medical histories and circumstances that must be taken into consideration when deciding who can safely participate in fertility treatment and care at RCC.

I wanted to finish by thanking you all. The physicians at RCC have had unique opportunities to connect with many of you personally during this time. We have been overwhelmed by everyone’s collective support and understanding of the situation at hand. It remains a privilege to have such a strong network of patients and staff that comprise the RCC family. Let it continue to expand as we all work through these trying times. We look forward to working alongside all of you in the very near future.

Please make sure your contact information with RCC is current so that we know how best to reach you. Follow us on our website, rccfertility.com, and our Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Continue to be safe and well,

Dr. Shannon Corbett
Medical Director
The Reproductive Care Centre
905-816-9822

 

ASRM COVID-19 Resources for Patients – May 4, 2020

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine provides continuously updated information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on fertility treatments. You can access their video library, articles and Frequently Asked Questions HERE.

 

Health Canada Advice Regarding COVID-19 and Pregnancy – April 17, 2020

Health Canada has published the following advice for mothers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on pregnancy, childbirth and caring for newborns. You can read the article HERE.

 

A Letter To Our Patients – March 19, 2020

Dear Valued Patients,

During these unique times, recommendations for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic from our federal and local governments seem to be changing hourly.  On March 15, 2020, the Ontario Medical Association strongly recommended social distancing. They also recommended physicians identify and reduce non-essential visits and temporarily put on hold non-essential care and elective surgery to protect all health-care providers, patients and the public, and most importantly, to manage what is expected to be tremendous demand on the system from spread of the virus. On March 17th, 2020, Ontario declared a state of emergency in order to protect the public. On March 19th, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) recommended that fertility clinics in Canada engage in the following practices:

1. Conduct consultations by telemedicine or phone
2. Complete current IVF cycles but utilizing freeze-all only
3. Suspend all diagnostic and elective procedures and surgeries
4. Postpone any new cycle starts (IUI, IVF, FET), aside from urgent cryopreservation for oncology, until further notice

The Physicians at the Reproductive Care Centre (RCC) carefully reviewed these recommendations and have chosen to follow these guidelines for the safety of our patients, staff and families.  As we have stated in the past, fertility treatments are time sensitive, so your physicians understand it is important that we do everything in our power to complete your cycle within these guidelines.

While taking into consideration that no medical societies are currently recommending to avoid becoming pregnant, small case studies have shown no birth defects to babies born in COVID-19 infected mothers, and there is no documented increased risk to pregnant women, each patient should decide whether they want to cancel their current cycle or proceed with an embryo transfer or intrauterine insemination. Your RCC healthcare team would be happy to discuss your personal fertility journey with you to assist in your decision making process. We hope any cycles that are delayed or cancelled can resume in the next 4-6 weeks. This guidance statement will be revisited at least every two weeks, or as more information becomes available, given that the situation is evolving and changing. Please continue to check our website for regular updates. Additionally, we will continue to monitor our phone lines and our info@rccfertility.com email address, so please email us if you would like to schedule a phone consultation with your physician or when you start your Day 1 so we can confirm if we are able to accept new cycles again.

As of March 19, 2020 the new RCC policy is as follows:

  • Effective immediately we will not start any new treatments or diagnostic cycles (an exception to this rule would be for patients with cancer who need urgent fertility cryopreservation). Patients can be cycled on birth control pills, which will allow them to be able to resume care shortly after the current restrictions are lifted. Please contact the clinic for further information if you are in the midst of a cycle for directives that apply specifically to you.
  • Any established RCC patient who is scheduled to meet with their physician in the near future will be askedto change their appointment to a phone consult, or telemedicine consult, in lieu of an in-person consultation. Please understand this policy is in place to increase social distancing for your and our staff’s wellbeing, and, has become the standard of medical care during this pandemic.  We will continue to offer phone consults throughout the COVID-19 crisis so you are prepared to resume treatment cycles after the current restrictions are lifted.
  • Your RCC front desk, phlebotomy, ultrasound and nursing teams will need to be in the offices to continue to provide you with exceptional fertility care in these trying times. However, we will also begin to transition staff to work at home as feasible. Your physical care will continue (blood draws, ultrasounds, etc.), but any questions outside of this care will be managed via phone after you leave the office.
  • We also will require that you attend your scheduled appointments alone. Effective immediately, we will not permit anyone to attend the appointment with you, including children.  This is for your safety, and the safety of our patients and employees.
  • For your medical team’s health and your own, please do not come to the clinic if you exhibit signs of COVID-19. The symptoms associated with this virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. These symptoms are consistent with the flu virus. If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probably case of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness that has travelled in the last 14 days you will not be permitted to enter the clinic. Please contact Telehealth and/or your local public health authority to obtain information on next steps regarding your possible COIVD-19 management. If you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 911.

For any change, your clinical team will keep you informed of your next steps.  RCC understands the emotional and medical toll that cancelling a cycle or delaying treatment can cause patients.  We know that you may find your fertility journey temporarily halted after months of planning, testing, and trying. We truly believe implementing these changes is what is needed for each of us to help flatten the curve.  Please know that we remain committed to your safety, wellbeing, and success on your path to parenthood.  We look forward to resuming treatment at a time that is safe and in the best interests of your future family building goal.

Please make sure your contact information with RCC is current so that we know how best to reach you.  Follow us on our website, rccfertility.com, and our Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Be safe and well,

Dr. Shannon Corbett
Medical Director
The Reproductive Care Centre
905-816-9822