The main day-case treatment unit is located on the 1st floor of Bexley wing at St James’s. We also have a small unit at Wharfedale hospital, which is open on Thursdays. View more information about day-case chemotherapy at Wharfedale.
The aim of the Chemotherapy Day Unit at St James’s (you may hear it called J80) is to make your time with us as comfortable and relaxed as possible while receiving your treatment.
Arrival and check-in
We are open Monday to Saturday 07.30 am to 19.30 pm, Sunday 8m to 4pm. We are located on Level 1 in the Bexley Wing at St James’s.
On the day of your treatment please report to reception in the Day Unit at your appointment time. Relatives or friends are welcome to come with you. As space is restricted, please limit this to one or two people. You can bring your own books or magazines or battery operated entertainment devices if you wish, but these must not be audible to other patients. There is wifi access to the internet available which is free for internal browsing. For streaming the wifi has a charge which varies according to the amount of data required and the length of time.
Please try to wear clothes with short sleeves or with sleeves that can be pushed up. We need to be able to see easily the site where the cannula (tube into your vein) is put in, which is attached to an infusion. If you have a PICC, Hickman or Port device insitu please wear clothes that allow access for connecting the infusion.
You will be asked to have a seat in the waiting area. Magazines and cold drinks are available in reception for your comfort. The receptionist will inform your nurse of your arrival.
Prior to your treatment commencing your blood tests will have been checked by your doctor/pharmacist to ensure they are at the levels required. It is important that you don’t receive treatment if your blood tests are not in the safe range as further treatment may make you at risk of infection or complications. Occasionally, it is necessary to take more blood samples on the day of treatment. Please don’t be alarmed if this happens, we will explain why at the time. It is quite usual for treatment to proceed after additional blood samples have been taken.
Your treatment will be produced by the Pharmacy department. Wherever possible, this will be done in advance to prevent delays in your treatment. Sometimes this is not possible, so please bear in mind that you may need to wait whilst this occurs. Sometimes blood results have to be repeated. This means that pharmacy cannot make up the treatment until they have been checked. Sometimes the drugs have a very short expiry time so cannot be made up in advance and sometimes due to the cost of the treatment the medications are not made up until the patient has arrived in the hospital and confirmed that they are well enough for treatment. Pharmacy have to follow these processes to reduce the chance of the treatment being wasted.
When your treatment is ready you will be taken through to the treatment delivery area. It is divided into four different areas called A,B,C &D. You will be introduced in the team of nurses in A for example who will be looking after you that day.
If at any time you have any questions/queries, please ask any member of staff. If they cannot answer they will find someone that can.
Patients have their treatment sat in comfortable reclining chairs. For those that need one, beds are available. Please inform your nurse of any specific requirements you have, we will try our best to meet them.
For safety reasons, your nurse will check your details of name, address, date of birth and allergy status before and during your treatment every time we start a new medication. This is to ensure we have the correct patient, the correct treatment chart and the correct medication. We will place a name band on your wrist, as well. If you have an allergy your name band will be in red.
If you are having intravenous treatment (known as a drip), we will insert the cannula, which is a small that attaches to the drip that is inserted into your forearm/hand. If you have central venous access device (common types being Hickman PICC lines, or Portacath) this will be used for treatment.
The type and complexity of your treatment determines the length of time you will be with us. It can range from as little as 30 minutes up to 12 hours. Many treatments are an hour or two long.
Throughout your treatment you can eat and drink as normal. Even if you are attached to a drip you will be able to walk round the unit as the drip-stand is on wheels. We request you stay on the Day Unit while attached to the drip to ensure your safety.
Tea/coffee and biscuits are served mid morning and mid afternoon. Soup/sandwiches and drinks are available for patients having treatment over lunch time. Our housekeeper can order a hot meal for you, if your treatment means that you will be with us all day.
Remember that you can free parking during your treatment, please ask a member of staff about this.
Scalp cooling maybe offered for some treatments that cause hair loss (alopecia). It can be discussed for both men and women who wish to try and prevent hair loss. This should have been discussed with you at your pre assessment appointments. It is not offered for any haematology (blood cancer) patients. You don’t need to make up your mind whether to try the scalp cooling until just before your treatment. Once you have had one treatment without scalp cooling you cannot then change your mind, however if you want to try it and don’t like it you can stop at anytime. The scalp cooling hat has to be on the head for 30 minutes before treatment, during the infusion of the treatment and for up to 90 minutes afterwards so it will lengthen your treatment time.
On completion of your treatment you can go home. Your nurse will check if you require any medication to take with you. If you do, they will explain it and ensure you understand when and how to take it. They will also ensure that you have the 24hour contact numbers just in case you need to contact the hospital in between chemotherapy treatments. If you have concerns about your condition. If you have concerns about your condition following treatment please see the unwell after chemotherapy treatment page for information on what to do.
You should already have your appointments for your next treatments. If you haven’t or have any questions, please ask the nurse looking after you.
Leeds Cancer Support team team works closely with patients during their treatment and their Information Centre is on level 1 of St James Bexley Wing (tel: 0113 2068816). It is easy to drop in and find out what services they offer, such as information on lots of topics and hair loss.