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ACS offers free housing to COVID-19 health care workers

Please donate to our Hope Lodge COVID-19 Response Fund

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of our Hope Lodge facilities around the country will be made available for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus fight -- at no cost -- through the health care systems they are affiliated with.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to help the health care community as we all continue to adapt to keep pace with the escalating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," said our CEO Gary Reedy. "Making the decision to close our Hope Lodge facilities to cancer patients was extremely difficult. It is gratifying to be able to now offer these rooms to provide respite for health care workers who are making tremendous personal sacrifices to be on the frontlines treating patients, and we hope these accommodations will help." 

On March 27, 2020, we made the heartbreaking decision to suspend operations for the Hope Lodge program. Due to the growth of the pandemic, we could no longer ensure the health and safety of our immune-compromised cancer patient residents, nor of its volunteers and staff.

As a result, we now have rooms where health care workers can rest between shifts or sleep overnight if returning home is too difficult. As many health systems are now turning to community partners for support – ACS is ready to help and has a unique opportunity to assist with temporary lodging. The growing reality is that many health care workers are unable to return home each night due to long shifts and fear of exposing their families to the COVID-19 virus. 

ACS operates 34 Hope Lodges across the U.S., with a total of 1,174 rooms. In 2019, we provided 500,000 nights of free lodging to more than 29,000 patients and caregivers.

In addition to providing full access to Hope Lodge facilities, ACS has launched the Hope Lodge COVID-19 Response Fund to support these efforts, and to help provide the resources necessary to repurpose and operate our Hope Lodge facilities during the COVID-19 crisis. It also will ensure that Hope Lodge facilities are ready to accept cancer patients again in the coming months, and help ACS to continue with vital programs to help cancer patients during this pandemic.

Cancer hasn't stopped, so neither has the American Cancer Society. During this unprecedented time, we remain committed to the needs of cancer patients, who are more vulnerable than ever in the face of COVID-19. We continue to provide help and resources to cancer patients, families, caregivers, and health care providers. This includes being available, 24/7, 365 days a year through our helpline (800-227-2345) and cancer.org.


  • Dr. Len answers COVID-19 medical questions

    Check out this new video - and share!

    Our Deputy Chief Medical Officer Len Lichtenfeld, MD, answers lingering medical questions from volunteers and staff about COVID-19 in a 22-minute video released today. 

    Dr. Len shared his insight on questions ranging from testing and social distancing to the impact the virus is having and will have on cancer treatment and early detection. 

    The video was recorded in conversation with Renee Kelley, director of volunteer and staff communications, and can be shared with volunteers and constituents. 

    In addition, Dr. Len will answer medical questions that are submitted to coronavirus@cancer.org

    Check Twitter for other videos about coronavirus featuring Dr. Len in conversation with David Sampson, strategic director, medical & science communications.   

    An article titled Common Questions About the New Coronavirus Outbreak is updated regularly on cancer.org.  Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at cancer.org/coronavirus.


  • Patient assistance still available during COVID-19 pandemic

    New infographic highlights how ACS is continuing to help cancer patients and caregivers

    The COVID-19 outbreak has greatly impacted cancer patients, their caregivers, and health care providers. The American Cancer Society has a number of resources that can help. We stand ready to assist patients throughout their cancer journey, even during these challenging times. This new infographic illustrates how our important work is continuing, and we encourage staff to share it. 

    As you know, we’ve made the difficult decision as an organization to suspend transportation and Hope Lodge programs to ensure a safe and healthy environment for cancer patients, caregivers, volunteers, and staff. While we are not keeping our Hope Lodges open, we are working with our hotel partners to find patients a place to stay while continuing their treatment away from home. 

    Here are the services we are continuing to provide: 

    NCIC - Our National Cancer Information Center is being staffed 24/7 so that even now families can get answers from a live person wherever they are, no matter what time it is. Our trained cancer information specialists provide accurate, up-to-date information. People may call us by phone (1-800-227-2345) or Live Chat. Approximately 80% of all calls received at NCIC in the last three weeks were related to COVID-19 and cancer, including service requests and questions about health safety. 

    Reach To Recovery - We’ve shifted our Reach To Recovery one-on-one support program to completely phone-based, linking new breast cancer patients with survivors who have had a similar diagnosis and treatment plan

    Support Group Resources – We have online support resources so those touched by cancer can connect, interact, and find answers in this time of crisis. 

    Additional ACS Resources

    • Cancer.org – Get comprehensive information about cancer risk, prevention, screening, detection, treatment, survivorship, and end-of-life care, and learn how to manage common problems and concerns.
    • Personal Health Manager – Track and organize information about a cancer diagnosis and treatment with this helpful tool.
    • “tlc” – Tender Loving Care®  – Helps women with appearance-related side effects find affordable wigs, hats and scarves, and a full range of mastectomy products.
    • Caregiver Video Series Find support for those giving care to loved ones with cancer, including strategies for self-care as they navigate the caregiver experience. 
    • Caregiver Resource Guide A tool for people taking care of someone with cancer.
    • American Cancer Society YouTube Channel – View or listen to information about the impact of important ACS work and research.
    • Cancer Information Videos – Learn more about cancer and cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, programs and services, and listen to survivors’ stories of hope. 
    • Patient Navigation  Fifty hospital-based navigators, many working with safety net hospitals around the country, are reaching out to the patients to help them with the resources they require.

    ACS urges all patients to maintain contact with their cancer care team to determine the best course of action during this pandemic. 

  • Coronavirus/Covid-19 Guidance - Updated April 3

    Cancer hasn't stopped, and neither has the American Cancer Society. The COVID-19 pandemic is especially scary for cancer patients, and we are here - at 1.800.227.2345 and cancer.org - 24/7, 365 days a year. 80% of the calls to our 1.800 number in the past few weeks have been related to the pandemic.

    We are so grateful for the passion and dedication of our volunteers, and we need you now more than ever to help us minimize the impact on our 2020 revenue. We welcome your ideas for creative fundraising ideas; please email them to ACSeventsolutions@cancer.org.

    Stay safe, keep up your spirits, and continue to speak passionately about our mission. This infographic will help you.

    Latest updates

    What cancer patients and caregivers need to know - check cancer.org/coronavirus for updates

    How You Can Help

    News Announced Earlier

    • We suspended our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27. More about that here.
    • We suspended our transporation services as of March 25. Read more here.
    • Read our CEO Gary Reedy's message to our volunteers and supporters. It was emailed to more than 2 million people on March 17 and posted on cancer.org.
    • We are postponing all ACS events through the middle of May, all ACS offices and Discovery Shops are now closed to the public, and staff will continue to work from home.

  • American Cancer Society suspends Hope Lodge program

    We are suspending our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27, until further notice.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, we’ve been forced to make the very difficult decision to suspend operations for our Hope Lodge program.

    Hope Lodge is an important resource for patients who must travel long distances for cancer treatment, however what we’re experiencing is unprecedented. Some hospitals have begun to turn away all but the most pressing medical cases. Yet, it has been our intent to keep Hope Lodge facilities operating as long as we are able to ensure a safe and healthy environment for patients and their families, as well as our volunteers and staff.

    The continued escalation of the COVID-19 threat nationwide has made it clear that we will soon reach a point where we cannot meet the standard of ensuring a safe and healthy environment. We greatly value and rely on our Hope Lodge volunteers and staff. Many are understandably concerned about inadvertently exposing patients to additional risk, leading to fewer people being able to help out at the Hope Lodge. A growing number of states have made shelter-in-place mandates. Our teams are not considered essential health care workers and therefore not exempt from the guidance provided by local authorities.

    We are taking action now to prepare to suspend this service before we reach that point where we cannot provide a safe and healthy environment. We have made the incredibly difficult decision to suspend our Hope Lodge program as of Friday, March 27 until further notice.

    Our main priority now is to help our current guests. We have begun working with guests to find other resources that might be available in the community. These could include alternate lodging programs or helping find assistance to get back home.

    This is a heartbreaking decision for the American Cancer Society and our staff. However, we feel it is the only responsible decision we can make as this pandemic grows. The health of our staff, volunteers and guests surpasses even our will to serve.


  • Tips for staying healthy when you're stuck at home

    ​Health experts are advising people to stay home as much as they can to stay safe from the coronavirus pandemic and slow its spread. This is especially important for those at higher risk, including people with cancer. It means big changes in daily routines including how and where you get your exercise, and what and when you eat.

    But we know that healthy habits can affect a person's risk for cancer and other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This is because getting enough physical activity and eating healthy foods can help our bodies work as well as possible.  And there is growing evidence that cancer survivors who have these healthy habits have better quality of life and might have better treatment outcomes. With a bit of creativity, you can find new ways to get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy food even while you're staying home more.

    Exercises you can do at home

    The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Moderate activities make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. Vigorous activities use your large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and make you sweat.

    Even lower amounts are good for your health and are safe for most people. Besides helping to prevent some health problems, getting some physical activity can be helpful for your sleep, mood, and energy. It's also important to limit sedentary behaviors such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other kinds of screen time.

    If you're working or taking online classes from home:

    • Stand up or walk around while you read and answer emails and other messages on your laptop or phone.
    • During conference calls, stand up and pace, or stay seated and do leg lifts, knee lifts, and toe curls. Keep a weight under your desk for bicep curls. Do standing push-ups against a wall.
    • Take a short walk during lunch, or in place of a coffee break.
    • Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to take an activity break. For example, take a one- or two-minute standing or walking break every hour.

    Other ideas to get moving:

    • Take a walk outside if it's a nice day or walk inside around the house if it isn't. Walk fast enough to speed up your heart rate and break a sweat.
    • Walk up and down your stairs. Take every other step to give your legs a good workout.
    • Turn on the radio and dance in the house, alone or with your partner.
    • If you don't have stairs or much open space, you can do jumping jacks, or walk or jog in place. Try to keep moving for at least 10 minutes.
    • Use hand weights or grab an object like a soup can if you're just starting to exercise, or a jug of water if you're stronger. Bend at your elbows to curl your hand to shoulder level. Repeat 10 to 12 times, or until you can't do it anymore.
    • Do squats when cleaning out closets or playing with your children. Be sure to bend with your knees and keep your back straight.
    • If you're on social media or can search the internet, check for live-streaming exercise sessions or activity challenges that you can participate in.

    Make TV time active time:

    • Stand up and fold laundry while you watch.
    • Do a few simple exercises like jumping jacks or walking in place, or by doing stretches in front of the screen.
    • Make a new rule: No sitting during commercials.

    Make household chores count:

    • Mop or vacuum fast enough to get your heart pumping. A 150–pound person can burn about 150 calories an hour this way.
    • Have young children or pets at home? Playing with them can burn more than 200 calories per hour.
    • Yard work and gardening are also ways to burn calories and strengthen your arm, leg, and back muscles. Pushing a lawn mower, raking leaves, shoveling, and other outdoor chores can be an effective workout.
    • Use stay-at-home time for projects you may have been putting off.  Cleaning out the garage or attic is another way to be productive and active at the same time.

    How to eat healthy at home

    The American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, choosing breads, pastas, and cereals made from whole grains instead of refined grains, and brown rice instead of white. Eat less processed meat, less red meat, and fewer sweets, and drink less alcohol.

    Eating healthy meals at home helps you cut down on fat, salt, and sugar – and saves money too. If you're home from work or eating out less these days, consider it an opportunity to try new, healthier ways of cooking and eating.

    These ideas may help:

    • When you do shop, stock your kitchen with ingredients for easy-to-prepare meals.
    • Search for healthy recipes that use ingredients you already have. You can try some recipes from the American Cancer Society.
    • Resist the urge to snack during the day. If you're working from home, work in a room that's not close to the kitchen.
    • If you do nosh during the day, choose something from our list of quick, healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or mixed nuts.
    • If you have children home from school, get them to help with meals. Preschoolers can fetch items from the pantry or refrigerator and help stir, older children can use their math skills by measuring ingredients, and tweens and teens can take the lead in finding and preparing the recipe.
    • If you're thinking about getting takeout from local restaurants, call and ask for their menu or look it up online so you can make healthy choices.

    Nurture your emotional health

    Mental health is important too. Read more about ways for cancer patients and their families to cope with anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. And remember the American Cancer Society is here for you. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 if you need help.

    NOTE: This story first appeared on cancer.org.

  • Medicare expands telehealth to help seniors stay home

    Medicare has changed its policies to make it easier for older Americans to “see” their doctors without going in for an office visit.

    The idea is to allow more seniors to follow the advice of health experts and avoid being exposed to the coronavirus by staying home. To take advantage of the new policy, they will need access to a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

    It’s part of an expansion of Medicare rules authorized by Congress and set in motion under emergency declarations from the Trump administration. The expanded telehealth coverage will be in effect during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Most people on Medicare are at higher risk for COVID-19 because of their age and because many have underlying health conditions such as lung disease, diabetes or heart problems that increase their risk even more. The ability to continue routine care or get checked out for mild symptoms without having to go to the doctor’s office will help them practice recommended social distancing.

    The change means Medicare will pay health care providers for more telehealth services. Previously, Medicare limited telehealth visits to rural areas, and patients had to go to allowed sites for the visits. Recently, Medicare also began allowing brief “check-ins” through phone, video chat, and online patient portals. Now Medicare patients everywhere in the U.S. can use their device from home, or from any health care facility including doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, or rural health clinics. And services can now include routine office visits, mental health counseling, and some preventive health screenings. Deductibles and co-insurance will still apply.

    For example, people on Medicare can now visit with a doctor about their diabetes management or refilling prescriptions using telehealth without having to go to a doctor’s office or hospital which could put themselves and others at risk for COVID-19. As a result, the doctor’s office is available to treat more people who do need to be seen in-person and it helps slow the spread of the virus.

    The Trump administration is also asking state Medicaid agencies to offer telehealth services since they don't require federal approval.

    This article first appeared on cancer.org


  • Nonprofits, including ACS CAN, ask Congress for relief; help by sending a quick email to your U.S. Senators

    A coalition of 144 the nation’s largest charities, including  the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) American Heart Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, March of Dimes, American Lung Association, and the American Red Cross is asking lawmakers for $60 billion in Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic relief and economic stimulus in addition to creating a universal charitable deduction for taxpayers through 2021 to incentivize giving. 

    As the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is advocating for this issue on ACS’s behalf. 

    In a message to Congress on March 18, nonprofit leaders stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic “is having a profound impact on the economy and has greatly expanded the need for charitable organizations to provide additional services in an unprecedented manner. At the same time, the economic downturn will undoubtedly result in a contraction in contributions and other sources of revenue which are the lifeblood of many charitable organizations.”

    The coalition leaders wrote: “Nonprofits need an immediate infusion of $60 billion in capital to maintain operations, expand scope to address increasing demands, and stabilize losses from closures throughout the country.”

    “At a time when Americans need these services most, donations and fundraising are declining," said ACS and ACS CAN CEO Gary Reedy. "Cancer doesn’t take a break, and neither can the programs and services that ACS provides nationwide.”

    You can help with this effort by sending a quick email to your U.S. Senators here. Once you have taken action, please share this alert far and wide. We need to generate as many emails and calls TODAY in order to win on this mission critical issue. 

    Questions on ACS CAN and lobbying on specific cancer policy issues should be directed to your local ACS CAN staff partner.

    Nonprofits constitute about 10% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employ about 12 million people. “Without dramatic and immediate financial and programmatic backstop from government, America’s charitable nonprofits and the people we serve face a precipitous decline in mission services at a time when our efforts are needed like never before by the most vulnerable in our communities,” nonprofit leaders warned.

  • To protect our patients, we are suspending our transportation programs effective March 25

    ​The American Cancer Society is taking the coronavirus very seriously. We have been asking patients if they have the symptoms of the coronavirus or if they have had contact with someone who is symptomatic. If so, we have not allowed them to be transported by our volunteers or use paid transportation. The CDC says those who have the virus or believe they have the virus should avoid ride-share, taxis, and public transportation. 

    As the virus continues to spread, the safety and health of our patients remains paramount. This concern has led us to suspend all transportation (volunteer and paid) effective 03/25/20 until further notice. We will continue to evaluate and monitor COVID-19, and once the threat has subsided, we will redeploy our transportation programs. 

    On March 19, we posted a message about suspension of transportation services in Service Match – a system all drivers use to schedule ride requests. A message was emailed from ACS to all volunteer drivers, and regional staff are reaching out to hospital systems and other stakeholders with whom we work to apprise them of the suspension.

    Starting March 19, we are using paid transportation for new requests when possible. Our last rides will be delivered March 24. This includes arranging for public transportation.  

    We have already suspended our program in the California counties that are under the “shelter in place” provision. Should other areas be similarly restricted before March 25, we’ll also suspend programs in those regions. 

    During these trying times, and always, the American Cancer Society remains committed to the safety and health of our patients.

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