Be an Engaged Patient

Be engaged in your care

When You Are First Diagnosed

  • Ask about your doctor’s experience with your health problem.
  • Tell your doctor that you’d like to be an active partner on your care team.
  • Ask questions and learn about treatments, options and how payments will be handled.
  • Invite a trusted friend or loved one to go with you to appointments and procedures.
    • This is both to support you and provide you with an extra set of eyes and ears.
  • Let your care team know how you prefer to receive information.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
  • If you prefer your healthcare information to be communicated to you in a language other than English, please inform our registration staff and remind your clinical team of your language preference.

When You Go to Appointments with Your Care Team

  • Come prepared for your doctor’s visits. Bring a list with all of your questions, medicines, and any other important healthcare information.
    • Keep a written or electronic record of all of your care visits, procedures, medicines and treatments to bring with you to all of your healthcare visits.
  • Ask about your treatment options.
    • What standard-of-care and clinical trial options are available for treating your health problem?
    • Which treatments are best for you now?
    • Which treatments are offered at Fox Chase Cancer Center?
    • What are the side effects of each treatment and what are their conflicts and interactions with other treatments?
  • Share your feelings with your care team. They matter just as much as your physical condition.
  • When you have concerns about your care, speak up.
  • Ask that your care instructions be given to you in a way that you understand and learn best.

When You Are in the Hospital

  • Find out about the hospital’s routine, especially what time your care team will visit you, so that you can plan for your caregiver to be there.
  • Always let your care team know if you are uncomfortable or in pain.
  • If you or your caregiver notices a change in your condition that worries you, quickly call the nurse or a member of your care team.
  • If you are having trouble getting the rest you need, ask for ear plugs, soothing music, or to have the door to your room closed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your caregivers and care team if they have washed their hands.
  • If having visitors is not helpful for your healing, ask your care team for help setting limits for guests.
  • Ask to have your aftercare needs and discharge paperwork shared with your caregiver.
  • Insist that your caregiver’s name be added to your medical record.

When You Are Discharged

  • Ask for a paper document that highlights all of the important information in your discharge instructions.
  • Talk with your caregiver about your daily routine, including:
    • The times you take your medicines
    • The times you wake up and go to sleep
    • The times you like to bathe or shower
    • Your exercise routine
  • Use your own system (paper or electronic) to record important discharge and follow-up instructions.
  • Check that you have your follow-up appointment paper and your discharge medication paper with your next dose times completed by your care team.

Decision-Making as a Patient

  • Explore all treatment choices, including possible clinical trials with your care team and caregiver.
  • Tell your care team how you would define a quality outcome (for instance, being able to walk up a flight of stairs, being able to play with your grandchildren without getting winded, etc.).
  • Document your wishes for end-of-life care.
  • Consider all of your care options. Palliative care is a sign of strength.
    Palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from pain and other distressing symptoms while being mindful of patient and family needs, values, beliefs and cultures. Learn more at
  • Talk to a patient advocate, patient liaison or department manager if your concerns are not being dealt with to your satisfaction.
  • For advice on changing your physician during treatment, call Patient Advocacy at 215-728-3063.

Keeping Your Medical Record

  • Sign up for Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Patient Portal myTempleHealth (formerly myFoxChase).
  • Keep a written or electronic record of all your visits, procedures, medicines and treatments.
  • When your healthcare provider is putting information about you into the electronic medical record, ask about what is being entered.
  • Ask to see your medical record. If you don’t understand what you read in your medical record, ask questions until you do.
  • If you read something you know is not right in your medical record, ask to have it fixed.

Educate yourself

  • Research your health problem and treatments.
  • The Lippincott Resource and Education Center (REC) at Fox Chase is a patient and family learning center with access to information on cancer risk, prevention, screening and treatment. Visit for locations and a full list of resources.
  • Use community resources (such as consumer health resource libraries, health and wellness fairs, and free screenings) to take control of your own healthcare.
  • When you get instructions, ask your care team to show you, not just tell you. This will empower you and give you confidence to take better care of yourself. Ask to include your caregiver in these demonstrations as well, so they can learn how you would like them to take part.
  • Download a healthcare app to help you manage and track important aspects of your health, such as diet, exercise, sleep patterns, blood pressure, etc.


Download the Printable version:
Engaged Patient [PDF]
This resource was developed by the Fox Chase Cancer Center Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). PFAC serves as a “voice” for patients who have received cancer treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center and their family members. The council is dedicated to strengthening collaboration between patients and family members and the health-care team to enhance the Center’s ability to deliver the highest standard of safe, comprehensive and compassionate health care.
Copy has been adapted from Planetree International. November 2019. 

Patient Guides and Forms

Link to


Read our website for more information, or download these printable guides and forms

Fox Chase Cancer Center Patient Guide [PDF]

Infusion Therapy Guide for Patients [PDF]

Radiation Therapy Guide for Patients [PDF]

Surgery Guide for Patients [PDF]


Patient and Family Support

We understand that cancer care can affect the whole family. We offer an array of support services for patients and their families. See all of our patient and family support services.


To address the unique health care needs of patients who have completed cancer treatment, Fox Chase offers wellness education, screening and ongoing health care through our Survivor Clinics. Under the guidance of the doctor who treated you, the Survivor Clinic care team offers a broad range of services to deal with the lasting effects of cancer and cancer treatment, and provide long-term medical follow-up. Services include specialized medical care, genetic counseling and testing, psychiatric services, nutritional support and preventive care to improve your future health and quality of life.

Learn More