Patient Guidelines

Protecting the Health and Privacy of all Patients

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center staff are committed to work as a team that includes you and your family members. To protect the health and privacy of all our patients, we follow policies and procedures described below.

Preventing Infection

To protect the safety and well-being of all Fred Hutch patients, please read the below guidelines before your first visit. Caregivers should not come to the clinic with cold and flu symptoms. Hand hygiene stations are located in the elevator lobbies on each clinic floor as well as the parking garage.

Read Cold and Flu Guidelines

Fresh or dried flowers and plants are not allowed in Fred Hutch clinics because of the organisms that grow on them and in the dirt or water, which can cause infections. Balloons and silk flowers are okay. Make sure there is no decorative moss around silk flowers. Only artificial moss is allowed.

For the comfort of our patients, Fred Hutch is a fragrance-free environment.

Smoke-Free Environment

We are committed to providing an entirely smoke- and tobacco-free environment for all patients, visitors and staff. Smoking is not allowed in any area, including buildings, grounds and parking lots.

Service Dogs

Can I Bring My Service Dog to Fred Hutch?

According to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), public and private hospitals and medical clinics must allow people with disabilities to bring their service dogs. At Fred Hutch, service dogs can go with owners in almost all areas of the clinic. Service dogs are not allowed in imaging rooms, procedure suites or in the oncology units at UW Medical Center - Montlake.

What Is a Service Dog?

According to the ADA, a service animal is any guide dog, signal dog or other dog trained to help a person’s sensory, mental or physical disability. For instance, service dogs are trained to:

  • Guide people who are blind or have low vision.
  • Alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds.
  • Pull a wheelchair.
  • Alert and protect a person who is having a seizure.
  • Remind a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications.
  • Calm a person with post-traumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack.
  • Provide physical support and help with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.
  • Help individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

What Is the Difference Between a Service Dog and a Therapy Animal?

Service dogs are trained to help with a task directly related to a person’s disability. People with disabilities who own service dogs are protected under the ADA. Service dogs are not pets.

A therapy animal is trained to provide comfort to one or more people. Therapy animals of any kind are not allowed in the clinic. 

Do I Need to Let Someone Know I’m Bringing My Service Dog?

When you bring your service dog to the clinic for the first time:

  • Stop at the front desk on the first floor. Tell the front desk staff that you brought your service dog.
  • Front desk staff will ask screening questions and provide you with a Fred Hutch yellow bandana to tie around your service dog’s neck or leash. 
  • Put the yellow bandana on your service dog’s neck or leash each time your service dog comes to the clinic.
  • If your service dog isn’t wearing an approved bandana, you will have to check in at the front desk on the first floor, even if your service dog has visited the clinic before. 

Is There a Time My Service Dog Wouldn’t Be Allowed in the Clinic?

Your service dog will not be allowed in the clinic if it:

  • Behaves poorly and you can’t control the behavior, for example: barks repeatedly, bites.
  • Puts the health or safety of others at risk, for instance: makes messes often, wanders away from you

Can Staff Help Care for My Service Dog?

No. You are responsible for the care and supervision of your service animal at all times. As part of this, you must:

  • Provide dog food, water and other care, such as walks. If you can’t provide care while at Fred Hutch, ask family members, friends or another caregiver to help. Fred Hutch staff are unable to provide care for service dogs.
  • Please clean up after your service dog. If you can’t clean up right away, ask family members, friends or another caregiver to help. Fred Hutch staff are unable to clean up after your service dog.

Other Important Items

Help Prevent Falls

To help prevent patients who may be weak from falling, we ask service dog owners to:

  • Keep your service dog at your side at all times. 
  • Keep leashes short so people don’t trip over them.
  • Keep your resting service dog out of the way of foot traffic.
  • Not leave your service dog unattended at any time.

Help Prevent Infection

To help prevent infection among our many patients with severely weakened immune systems, we ask service dog owners to:

  • Clean your hands after touching a service dog. 
  • Discourage people from petting your service dog. 
  • Ask people to clean their hands afterward if they touch your service dog.
  • Make sure your service dog stays on the floor. 
  • Not let your service dog on any furniture.
  • Make sure your service dog stays on the floor in the shuttles to Pete Gross House and South Lake Union House.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Fred Hutch respects the rights of all of our patients, equally and individually. Your rights include medical care guided by the best medical practices, participation in making informed decisions about your care, voluntary participation in medical research studies, confidentiality of your health information and access to your medical records. As a patient of Fred Hutch, you share in the responsibility for your care, which includes providing complete information about your health and medications, keeping appointments, promptly meeting financial obligations and following Fred Hutch rules.

If you have concerns, we encourage you to talk with your health care team initially. If this does not resolve your issue, please contact Fred Hutch Patient Relations at 206.606.1056 or

More Information

Release of Medical Information

Release of Medical Information

If you want a copy of the medical record of your Fred Hutch treatment, you will be asked to sign an authorization form. There is no charge for records released to you or your doctor. Contact medical records for Fred Hutch clinics at 206.606.1114 and for UW Medical Center at 206.744.9000.

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Patient Safety

Patient Safety

Fred Hutch takes pride in providing care of the highest quality and safety, as reflected in our high survival rates and in receiving the Joint Commission’s Golden Seal of Approval. Research shows that the best way to protect patient safety is a team approach to care — with patients and their families taking an active role.

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