For most people, leaving the comfort of their home and being admitted to hospital can be a stressful experience.
We would like to take as much anxiety out of the situation as possible by providing you with information about the Leukemia/BMT Inpatient Unit so you can know what to expect prior to your admission.
Click on any of the links listed left to learn more about the topic.
Get information on Facility & Admission, Transportation & Parking, and Accommodations prior to coming to the hospital:
Jim Pattison Pavilion, Tower 15 and 16 (T15 and T16)
899 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
The Leukemia/BMT Inpatient Unit is located on the 15th and 16th floor of the Jim Pattison Pavilion. It is often referred to as Tower 15/16 or T15/16.
Jim Pattison Pavilion can be accessed from the main hospital entrance on West 12th Avenue. Take the elevator in the Jim Pattison Pavilion to the 15th floor. Access to the 16th floor is via the service elevators.
Click below for a map of the hospital buildings.
The Leukemia/BMT Inpatient Unit is located on the 15th and 16th floors of the Jim Pattison Pavilion. It is often referred to as Tower 15/16 or T15/T16.
Jim Pattison Pavilion can be accessed from the main hospital entrance on West 12th Avenue or the entrance on Laurel St. The main elevators in the Jim Pattison Pavilion will take you to the 15th floor. Access to the 16th floor is via the service elevators.
Click below for a map of the campus:
The Leukemia/BMT Inpatient Unit has a total of 35 beds, with 17 private rooms and 18 semi-private rooms containing 2 beds each.
You will be admitted into an available room on T15 or T16 depending on availability. Patients are usually required to change rooms multiple times during a hospital admission due to many factors. Private rooms are often required for specific isolation needs or acutely ill patients and are not available for request.
Each room has a telephone and TV. You will have a bedside drawer and small closet for your personal belongings. There is a daily rate for telephone access and cable TV. Basic Wi-Fi is available at no charge, premium Wi-Fi can be purchased.
We have seven Samsung tablets, generously donated by Telus, available for patient use to access email, Zoom, Skype, social media etc. Ask your RN about signing out one of the tablets for the day.
All rooms have a dry-erase drawing board for messages and a calendar to keep track of treatments and other events. This board may also be used to put up pictures and cards. Please do not use any kind of tape or tacks on the walls, as it will damage the paint.
Most rooms comes equipped with ceiling mounted patient lifts and all rooms have a call-bell system with intercom. Patients may call for assistance by using the call button located at each bedside and in each bathroom. You will be shown how to use this when you arrive on the Inpatient Unit. The nursing staff change shiftsand do report between 7am-8am and 7pm-8pm. We request that you do not call for non-urgent requests during this time. We also ask that family and friends refrain from calling the unit to check on loved ones during this time.
Patients admitted to the Inpatient Unit are generally acutely ill, requiring high dose chemotherapy, or undergoing a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. These patients can be newly diagnosed, returning for further chemotherapy treatment or returning due to complications from previous treatment.
The Leukemia/BMT Program of BC maintains a computerized admission-list for patients coming in to hospital for treatment. This admit-list includes an “ideal date” for each patient’s admission to hospital.
However, in many cases, patients cannot be admitted to hospital on their “ideal” date due to lack of bed availability on that day.
Priority for admission is always given to patients who are acutely ill and require urgent or emergent care as an inpatient. Patients who are considered medically stable should be aware that their admission might be delayed, often with very short notice.
The BMT physicians discuss and prioritize all patients on the Admissions List every day.
On your ‘ideal date’ for admission you will be called between 12:00-1:30pm to confirm there is a bed available for you. Please be available, waiting for the call and have a plan to arrive at the hospital at 2pm. If there is not a bed avail for you on your ‘ideal date’, your BMT Navigator will call to let you know.
If you need help with transportation to and from the hospital, talk to the social worker or the nurse. There is a volunteer driver program available. The BMT social worker can also assist you in obtaining a handicapped-parking sticker for your car.
Black Top Cabs have a direct phone on the wall between the Gift Shop and lobby on the 1st floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion.
The Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with the Freemasons and other volunteers, may be able to drive patients to their cancer treatment appointments at no cost. Donations accepted. *Please always book two days ahead if possible*.
Freemasons Volunteer Drivers (no charge) 604 872 2034 Covers Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond Operates Monday to Friday.
Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society (no charge) 604 515 5400 Covers North Shore, Tri-cities, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey, Delta, Langley, White Rock, New Westminster, Abbotsford, White Rock Operates Monday to Friday.
Pay parking exemption is available for patients undergoing cancer treatment in acute-care settings. For more information or for assistance with parking validation and reimbursement, please contact VCH at email@example.com or call 604-785-3409 (available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
Where can I find parking around Vancouver General Hospital (VGH)?
You may be dropped off at the main entrances to the Jim Pattison Pavilion or Leon Blackmore Pavilion.
Note that there is no temporary parking at these entrances – only active drop-off and pick-up allowed.
Please refer to the included map for parkade locations and prices, these prices are subject to change.
VGH Parkade This is located on Laurel Street and West 12th Avenue. There are two entrances: Laurel Street and West 12th Avenue.
Diamond Health Care Centre Parkade This is located on Laurel Street, between West 10th and West 12th Avenues. There is only one entrance and it is accessible via Laurel Street.
Street Parking: There are metered parking spaces around the hospital on 12th Street, Laurel Street and on the upper ramp of the Jim Pattison Pavilion entrance.
There is free street parking available on the street if you have time to drive around the side streets and don’t mind walking a few blocks. Street parking closer to the hospital have a green 2-hour limit sign between 6am and 6pm. There is no time limit for these spaces at night between 6pm and 6am.
How can I find out more about Disabled parking stickers for my vehicle?
Applications for disabled parking stickers require approval from your doctor. To find out if you qualify, go online www.sparc.bc.ca/parking-permits/apply-for-a-permit/ or call 604- 718-7744 or toll free at 1 888 718 7794.
Many patients requiring treatment do not live in the Lower Mainland or may have friends and relatives from out of town who wish to stay in Vancouver to support them. When making reservations, be sure to ask for “Medical Rates”. If needed, the social workers can assist in finding accommodation in the area.
When making reservations, be sure to ask for “Medical Rates”.
Places to Stay in the VGH Area
Canadian Cancer Society Patient Lodges
Please note that rates in the Accommodations Guide are not guaranteed and subject to change. The facilities cited are only suggestions. No endorsements or comments are in any way implied with regard to quality, safety, or other aspects of operations. Visitors should contact the individual residences for further details such as check in/out times, cancellation policies, etc. Any concerns with the accommodation should be discussed and resolved with the proprietor.
What to Bring
During your hospital stay, we want you to be as comfortable as possible. If a lengthy stay is anticipated, you may want to have some important and special items that comfort you nearby.
This is a list of items that aren’t required, but which you may wish to bring. Each patient has a small three drawer dresser and a small closet for storage of personal items.
Please keep in mind that less is better: it is difficult to clean cluttered surfaces.
Do not bring more then would fit in a carry-on size luggage bag.
Patient belongings must be kept off the floor at all times, and are not to be stored on the window ledges. This is a VCH Infection Control Policy.
- Cell phones* (phones provided at bedside: free incoming calls, charges for outgoing calls)
- Laptops or tablets* (basic Wi-Fi free on unit, charges for premium internet
- Pictures of family/friends/pets/places – use reusable adhesive tack; no tape or tacks on walls please (bullet added)
- Loose fitting clothing, ideally with buttons up the front –pyjama tops & pants available on unit
- One Pillow & One blanket – pillows and linens also available on unit
- Soft hat or head scarf (bullet added
- No laundry facilities available, laundry to be taken home and washed by caregivers
- Toiletries (no sharing): soft toothbrush, lip balm, toothpaste without whitening, deodorant, floss (flossing is ok if you’ve always flossed)
- Cosmetics/creams: should be mild, hypoallergenic, or fragrance free; please check expiry dates, as this may pose an infection risk to you.
- Electric shaver – no wet shaving with a razor
- Soft toilet paper or baby wipes
- Non-perishable snacks – no fridge available for patient use
- Popsicles – give to nurse to go directly to freezer, box not to enter patient’s room
- Non-slip slippers or plastic flip-flops or sandals
- Music, audiobooks, podcasts, headphones
- Books, journals, magazines, bibles or other religious items
- Drawing materials, colouring books, small puzzles, etc.
*Please be careful with valuable items, the hospital is not responsible if they become lost or are broken. Avoid leaving phones, glasses, etc. hidden in bed sheets or on meal trays.
- Kettles, hot plates, rice cookers, any small appliances – safety risk and fire risk
- Electric blanket, heating pad, hot water bottles – chemo changes your skin, these can seriously burn you
- Fans – they blow dust and bacteria around
- Electric Cooler – they have a fan
- Consoles, TVs, fridges, furniture – too big and a safety hazard
During Your Stay
Most patients wonder about what daily life will be like during their hospital stay. Click on any of the topics below to learn more.
You will likely have a central IV line placed in your chest called a Hickman line.
Blood samples are taken from your Hickman® line every day. These samples provide important information about your progress. If you do not have a Hickman® line, the samples will be taken from a vein in your arm. Most of the blood samples are taken between 5:00am and 6:30 am by the RN assigned to your care overnight. The results will be ready early in the day to allow the doctors and nurses to plan your care. Blood samples may also be taken at other times of the day.
You will be weighed every morning to assess body fluid balance. Your nurse will perform a complete assessment of your physical condition. at the beginning of each shift (morning and evening).
Each morning the medical staff will come to assess you, generally between 08:30-11:30, completing a physical assessment and checking on your condition. The doctor may see you more than once a day. This a good time to ask the doctor any questions you may have or to set up a meeting for a longer talk. If you have trouble remembering questions you would like to ask, try writing them down. You may wish to have a family member present, on speaker phone, or video call during the doctor’s assessment, as this is a good time for them to ask questions. The nurses and doctors also consider your emotional status to be an important part of your regular assessments.
Allied Health Staff Visits
Other members of the health care team may also see you during the day. They include the occupational therapist, clinical pharmacist, dietitian, physiotherapist, social worker, spiritual care (if requested), or doctors from other areas that have been asked to see you. Most of these meetings will occur on a drop-in basis.
Treatment, Procedures, Activities, Visitors & Self Care
During each day, time must be made available for personal hygiene, mouth care, Hickman® line care, medications, diagnostic tests and procedures, treatments, educational activities, meals and exercise. Regardless of the length of your admission, we will provide teaching and information to prepare you for your eventual discharge.
Another important part of your daily routine will be visits and phone calls from family and friends.
With such a busy schedule it is often necessary to find a balance that also permits some “downtime”. For health and a sense of wellbeing, it is important to have some time to yourself. Each of us needs some form of quiet time for recreational activities, relaxation and rest. Your health care team will support you in finding this balance.
Due to your treatment you will be immunocompromised and therefore all patients are expected to remain on the Leukemia/BMT unit at all times. This also allows the health care team to provide all treatments and care in a timely manner. If your neutrophil count is >0.5 and you are well you may be granted a pass by your doctor to go for a walk around the hospital for a short period. This is on a case to case basis decided by the physicians.
Your meals will be served to you in your room by dietary staff. Breakfast comes between 9:00am and 9:30am. Lunch arrives between 1:00pm and 1:30pm. Dinner is served between 6:00pm and 6:30pm. A dietary staff member will come around daily to get your selections for your menu the next day.
Non-perishable food from home is permitted and encouraged. There is no fridge to store food in. All food must be non-perishable and kept in your bedside table or closet.
The dietician will visit you often while you are in hospital. They will assess how well you can eat, what you can eat, and will also help you to choose foods to meet your physical needs.
There are dietary restrictions you should follow while you are neutropenic and immunocompromised. You should avoid the following foods:
-raw or uncooked meat and fish; i.e. sushi, even veggie sushi could be contaminated
-foods that are unpasteurized, such as honey and soft cheeses
-soft or undercooked eggs, yolks should be hard
A Family and Patient Lounge is located just outside of the T15 entrance. This room can be used for family meetings, as well as a waiting and respite area for all visitors.
The T15 Education Room
The T15 Education Room is available to patients who require a larger space for private meetings and/or family gatherings. This is a shared space between the health care team and families.
Members of the health care team (doctors, nurses, and allied health) utilize this space for conferences, education sessions and meetings.
Based on availability (noted on the Education Room door), you may ask your nurse to use this space anytime. Or you may sign-up for a specific date and time and your nurse that day will let you into the room.
Each patient’s bedside has a telephone. You can receive incoming calls on this phone, free of charge. If you wish to make outgoing calls there is a daily charge, and you must request for this to be setup. This charge does not include long-distance calls, which must be made collect, billed to a credit card or placed on a calling card. If friends or relatives want to send a useful gift, a calling card may be appreciated.
Basic Wi-Fi is available at no charge, premium Wi-Fi can be purchased. Please ask your RN for the latest Wi-Fi password.
We have seven Samsung tablets, generously donated by Telus, which are available for patient use to access email, zoom, skype, social media etc. Ask your RN about signing out one of the tablets for the day.
Please remember to keep valuables, such as mobile phones, laptops, or tablets securely out of sight when not in use.
While you are in the hospital, friends and relatives can write to you or send you a care package at the following address:
Vancouver General Hospital
Leukemia/BMT Unit, JPP Tower 15
899 West 12th Avenue
Each patient room is equipped with a television. Cable available for a daily rate.
Please consider that there will be some downtime while you are in the hospital. You may wish to bring a small selection of reading, colouring or other art project, music, movies, TV shows, or podcasts downloaded onto your phone or device. Having a creative outlet or an activity that can provide some distraction can be very therapeutic.
Please reach out to one of our Occupational Therapists if you are feeling anxious or bored and they may have suggestions or activities that they can share with you to cope with these feelings.
Protective isolation is set up to reduce exposure to germs that could cause an infection in patients. Patients are required to wear a surgical mask when leaving the unit for tests.
No flowers or plants are allowed on the inpatient unit. The plants, soil, and water may contain fungal spores and bacteria that can cause infections. This includes dried flowers, dried grasses and moss.
Visitors with cold/flu/GI symptoms are not allowed to come to the inpatient unit. All visitors will be screened upon their arrival to the inpatient unit.
All visitors are required to wear a mask during cold and flu season if they have not had a flu vaccination.
Visitors who have recently had an immunization other than the flu vaccination should clarify with the RN or Charge Nurse when it is safe for them to visit again.
While in Hospital
Occasionally a patient will develop respiratory symptoms, or other infection, requiring him/her to be placed on special isolation precautions. The patient will remain on isolation until the cause of the symptoms is determined or until the patient is asymptomatic. This could be 24 hours to many weeks. Depending on the isolation precautions staff and visitors will be required to wear masks, gown, gloves and sometimes goggles. The isolation procedures will be posted outside the patient room. All visitors are asked to follow the isolation precautions and check in with the RN before entering the room if they are unsure what to do.
If the patient agrees, family and friends are welcome to visit from 0800 AM to 1000 PM. If you do not want visitors or phone calls, let the nurse know so that s/he can inform the Reception Desk. Discuss the topic of visits and phone calls with family and friends so that they know what your wishes are. It is important to have planned rest periods.
This is a list of visitor guidelines specific to the Leukemia/BMT Inpatient Unit. All patients, families and visitors need to respect and follow these guidelines to help keep our unit operating smoothly and ensure that the rights of our patients are protected. We appreciate your cooperation.
- All visitors are asked to check in by phoning the front desk just before entering the unit. There is a wall-mounted telephone for this purpose, located by the sink, just before the unit doors. The unit’s number is displayed above it.
- All staff and visitors MUST wash their hands before entering the unit and before entering and after leaving patient rooms. Instructions on the proper way to wash hands are posted above or beside the sinks.
- Plants and flowers are not allowed in the unit as they carry a large number of bacteria and fungal spores in their water and soil. This also includes dried flowers, dried grasses, and moss. Artificial flowers, cards and balloons are welcome.
- Children are welcome on the unit, but in some situations visits from children are not advisable. Certain infections and childhood vaccinations are risky for the patient. If a child has had recent vaccinations please check with the RN or Charge Nurse before visiting the unit. Children visiting must follow the hand washing guidelines and all isolations precautions, if applicable, when entering a patient room.
- Visitors with cold/flu symptoms of any kind, GI symptoms, cold sores, unidentified skin rashes, and recent exposure to chickenpox virus MUST NOT visit the unit.
- Visitors must use the public washrooms. There is one located outside the unit across from the waiting lounge. The patient’s washroom is for patient use only.
- Visitors may purchase meals in the Sassafras Cafeteria on the 2nd floor of the Jim Pattison Pavilion (JPP). Hours of operation are posted outside the cafeteria. There is also a coffee shop located on the first floor of the JPP at the main entrance.
- The Inpatient Unit is a scent-free area. Visitors and patients are asked to please avoid perfumes and colognes, as many of the patients on the unit are extra sensitive to odours. Nausea is a very serious issue in our patient population.
- Smoking is not allowed on the VGH campus. Please respect the no smoking signs posted and go off the hospital campus to smoke.
- Please limit visitors to no more than two in the room at a time. The rooms are small and crowd easily. Also the noise level rises easily. Please be respectful of the other patients, especially in a double room. If there are more than 2 visitors you may be asked to move to the patient family lounge, the education room, or to rotate visitors so there is a maximum of 2 at a time.
- One family member or friend may stay overnight with the permission of the charge nurse. Any overnight visitors must be up and have the pull out chair and bedding put away no later than 7:30am. Cots/chairs should not be set up in such a way that it blocks the nurse’s access to the patient and the emergency medical equipment. For out-of town family members needing a place to stay, please talk to the social worker. No visitors are to be living at the hospital. Family and friends need primary accommodations to shower, eat, and recharge.
Services Available to You & Your Family
CIBC Centre for Patients & Families
The CIBC Centre for Patients & Families is located on the 1st floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion behind the Information Desk. The resource centre has staff available to help you locate information, medical and non-medical, as well as accessing community resources. Internet access and a copy/fax machine are also available for patients and visitors.
Click here to go to the CIBC Centre for Patients & Families web site.
Health care interpreters are available to help with communication between non-English speaking patients and staff. Interpreting services are also available for Deaf, Deaf-blind and Hard of Hearing patients. If you or your family need an interpreter, please speak to a staff member. Interpreters are available in person, by phone, and by video chat.
In addition to the services provided by the spiritual care practitioner, there is a Sacred Space on the 1st floor of Blackmore Pavilion, near the main entrance. This quiet room is open to everyone for prayer, meditation and reflection. If you would like a visit from spiritual care please let your RN know.
Aboriginal Patient Navigator Program
Aboriginal Patient Navigators work with staff to ensure that First Nations and Aboriginal people have access to high quality, culturally appropriate care.
Click here to go to their program brochure.
The VGH Gift Shop on the 1st floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion has a wide variety of items, including slippers, toiletries, phone cards, stamps, stationary and assistive devices such as reachers. The Gift Shop is staffed by volunteers and profits are used to benefit hospital patients.
There are two 24-hour ATM banking machines in the hospital. They are located next to the Gift Shop (Jim Pattison Pavilion, 1st floor) and at the entrance of the Sassafras Cafeteria (Jim Pattison Pavilion, 2nd floor).
Food, Groceries & Shopping
- Sassafras Cafeteria offers a wide variety of foods. Relax in its large seating area, which includes lounge chairs, sofas and an outdoor patio. It is located on the 2nd floor of Jim Pattison Pavilion and the 3rd floor of Centennial Pavilion. Sassafras is open Mon-Fri 6:30am to 7:00pm and Sat-Sun 7:30am to 7:00pm.
- Café Ami offers a full range of sandwiches, pastries and cookies. It is located at the main entrance of Jim Pattison Pavilion. Café Ami is open Mon-Fri 6:00am to 9:30pm and Sat-Sun 7:00am to 7:00pm.
- West Broadway between Oak & Cambie. You will find several drug stores, medical supply stores, pharmacies, banks, as well as numerous restaurants, eateries and coffee shops on West Broadway.
- City Square Mall has a variety of stores including a food court, a dollar store, and a post office. City Square Mall is on 12th Avenue between Ash & Cambie.
- Corner of Oak & 15th Avenue has a Max’s Deli & Bakery, a small grocery/produce store and coffee shops.
- Oaksville Laundromat is on Oak and 15th Avenue.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page are suggestions only, most of which were compiled by volunteers and community development staff. We acknowledge that it may not be a comprehensive list. No endorsements or comments are in any way implied with regard to quality, safety, or other aspects of operation.
Discharge and Discharge Checklist
Patients receiving a transplant can usually expect to be in hospital for at least 3-4 weeks. The health care team will ensure that you are stable enough to permit monitoring as an outpatient before discharging you. A few criteria that need to be met prior to discharge are:
- Blood cell counts (white cells, red cells and platelets) have reached a satisfactory level. You may still need blood product transfusions as an outpatient.
- There are no complications present that would stop you from being monitored as an outpatient.
- Your status is stable enough to permit monitoring on an outpatient basis.
- You are able to maintain adequate fluid intake and eat a satisfactory diet with sufficient calories to maintain weight.
- You have sufficient strength and mobility to attend regular clinic visits.
- You are able to take the required medications.
- You have a suitable place to live, preferably within 45 minutes of the hospital, while attending the Outpatient Daycare Unit.
- You have a reliable caregiver to stay with you and assist you.
- Plan to stay in the Vancouver area for several weeks to months after you are discharged, depending on what type of treatment you are receiving. Your physician will advise you how long you need to stay in Vancouver. There may be some exceptions to this rule; however, you should be aware of this and make the necessary arrangements without delay. This is necessary so your progress may be monitored closely and subsequent treatments provided if necessary in the Leukemia/BMT Daycare Outpatient Unit.
- Before you are discharged, the clinical pharmacist will see you. They will thoroughly discuss your discharge medications with you before you leave. They will review the purpose of each medication as well as the dose, time, special instructions and major side effects and drug interactions. The pharmacist will provide you with a medication calendar to help you keep track. Keep it with you at all times. You or your caregiver will need to plan to pick up your medications from a pharmacy on the way home from the hospital. Note some medications prescribed are not available at all pharmacies. Your pharmacist will advise you where to pick up those specialized medications.
- If you are taking care of your own Hickman® line at home, the nurse will provide you with a supply kit unless the Hickman® line is to be removed shortly after your discharge.