Oncology Hospital Medicine (Inpatient Care)
If your cancer treatment includes inpatient hospitalization, your care will be led by our medical oncology hospitalists (also called attending physicians or attendings) will manage your hospital care.
Our hospitalists, who are medical oncologists dedicated solely to inpatient care, work in multidisciplinary teams with nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, and other medical specialists – and every team member is focused on your needs throughout your hospital stay.
Coordinating closely with your primary medical oncologist, your medical oncology hospitalist and team will manage day-to-day issues while you are hospitalized, such as any medical complications that may arise from cancer or cancer treatment.
You can have peace of mind knowing that your inpatient oncology team will make any decisions about your care goals and treatment plan in close collaboration with your primary medical oncologist.
Through the partnership of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), your inpatient oncology team has access to all of the resources of a world-class institution.
You and your physician have access to outstanding surgeons and intensive care staff who specialize in the care of cancer patients, as well as to today's most advanced clinical services for diagnosis and treatment.
Inpatient clinical services include:
- Interventional radiology (IR) (also called vascular and interventional radiology (VIR) or surgical radiology): A sub-specialty of radiology, providing minimally-invasive image-guided diagnosis and treatment for certain cancers.
- Infectious disease care, control, and prevention: Many patients receive therapies that make them more susceptible to infection. Our team is specially trained to use techniques and precautions that minimize the risk of infection.
- Intensive care: Special medical care and monitoring for severely ill patients, delivered by skilled practitioners dedicated to intensive cancer care.
- Surgery by our expert sub-specialist surgical oncologists for cancers including, but not limited to, breast, brain, gastrointestinal, sarcoma, urology, melanoma and other skin lesions.
- Nuclear medicine tests: Radioactive tracers (radiopharmaceuticals) produce images of your body. These images demonstrate how your organs and tissues are functioning. A typical nuclear medicine examination is obtained with either a single photon emission tomography (SPECT) scanner or a positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner.
- State-of-the-art radiation oncology therapies, including external and internal radiation therapy; radiation therapy for bone marrow transplant; high-precision, stereotactic radio-surgery for brain tumors; and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), the most technologically advanced external beam radiation therapy treatment method. Learn more about our radiation oncology services.
- Respiratory therapy, such as lung function testing or chest physical therapy. Respiratory therapists also provide inhalable medications or oxygen.
- Radiology services, including X rays, ultrasound, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and inter-operative MRI. Learn more about our radiology services.
- Neurology and neuro-oncology: to address neurologic complications that may arise from cancer or its treatment.
- Pain and palliative care services provided by psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and psychiatric nurses. Our unique Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care (POPC) department specializes in the management of pain and other physical, emotional, social, and spiritual concerns that patients and their families face as they cope with a serious illness. Please speak with your doctor, nurse, social worker, or chaplain if you feel that you might benefit from these services.
- Nutrition counseling: Good nutrition plays a critical role during cancer treatment and needs to be an important part of your overall treatment plan. Our nutritionists are specially trained to work with cancer patients at all stages, from prevention through diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing survivorship. Learn more about our nutrition services.
Inpatient care services are provided by Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
- Dana-Farber's Inpatient Hospital is located on the 6th floor of the Tower in Brigham and Women's Hospital.
- Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is located adjacent to Dana-Farber.
The two hospitals are connected by a bridge that allows patients easy access to services at both institutions.
Family and friends are important to our patients. For this reason, you can arrange to have family and friends visit at times beyond the usual visiting hours of 1:00 – 8:00 p.m. Please speak with a member of the nursing staff to make arrangements.
Please note that fresh flowers and living plants are not allowed on any of the medical oncology units. This is because of the special air filter systems installed there to help protect patients from infection. Also, to protect latex-sensitive patients and staff, latex balloons are not allowed.
Admitting and registration
On the day of your scheduled admission, please contact Bed Planning at 617-732-7472 to find out when to come in and where to go for your admission.
Nutrition is especially important for patients with cancer. A diet technician will discuss meal options with you when you arrive, and a diet technician or dietitian will continue to visit you daily. Inpatient units provide a variety of snacks between meals and throughout the night to accommodate your needs. If you have questions about your diet or individual food needs, please call the dietitian on the floor to discuss them.
Directions, transportation, and amenities
Below are some helpful information resources to help you and your loved ones travel to, and navigate within, the hospital:
Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women's Hospital are constantly researching ways to optimize inpatient care, quality and safety, treatment outcomes, and the patient experience.
Some of the many current research studies and projects include:
- Optimum modeling for discharge and efficiencies.
- Optimizing resource utilization: determining the usefulness of testing for oncology patients and adjusting practice as needed.
- Appropriate use of antibiotics.
- Predictive modeling to identify factors that may affect readmission, ICU transfers, and outcomes for oncology patients.
- Bone marrow transplant safety and care.
- Noise management.
- Improving flow and safety around liver biopsy and bronchoscopies.
Edwin Alyea, III, MD, Director, Oncology Hospital Medicine
Brett Glotzbecker, MD, Medical Director, Inpatient Physician Assistant Program
Nancy Andrea, MD
Eddy Chen, MD
Aymen Elfiky, MD, MA, MPH, MSc
Prashant Nageshwar, MD
Rushdia Yusuf, MD
Specialists at Brigham and Women's Hospital
Depending on their needs, our patients have access to experts in every specialty area through our partnership with Brigham and Women's Hospital. Find a Brigham and Women's Hospital physician.