Patients with cancer or with any other kind of terminal disease may, at some point, require long-term care, either in their home or outside their home. That scenario is one that the patient and his/her family often hesitate to ponder, but – in many cases – the need to address this issue becomes necessary all too quickly, especially with aggressive cancers like mesothelioma. Hence, pre-planning is best and provides everyone with a little peace of mind in the midst of what can be a time wrought with turmoil.
The Planning Process
Throughout their journey with mesothelioma cancer, patients often move from one care setting to another, such as from the hospital to home or elsewhere. Hence, patients risk a disruption in care when these transitions become necessary, especially when the patient cannot be cared for in the home setting. Therefore, family members (or anyone assuming responsibility) will need to make decisions carefully but often rapidly in order to keep the care consistent.
Planning for a long-term situation for the patient who is currently undergoing cancer care can involve long hours of research and a lot of hit-or-miss when it comes to making the right decisions. Experts in long-term care note that there are many things to contemplate, including not only the location and reputation of any long-term care facility being considered. It’s also necessary for pleural mesothelioma patients and caregivers to research different care settings, decide how to fund the cost of care, and learn about government programs that may be able to assist with the cost.
Every patient’s care needs are different and specifics should be discussed with the patient’s oncologist. After these needs are determined, there are a number of places one can tap for information about long-term care planning and facilities. First of all, making contact with one’s insurance carrier is essential as the process begins, especially when funding is a concern. The insurer can provide information about what is and is not covered as far as care is concerned and may even have a list of specific facilities covered by the patient’s policy, including mesothelioma clinics.
Secondly, hospital social workers can be of assistance as well, especially for elderly and/or indigent patients who may have no insurance other than Medicare or Medicaid. You’ll find that, in general, any nursing or long-term care facility must provide a certain level of “skilled” care in order to be covered by Medicare. However, Medicaid does cover long-term care for cancer patients who are less fortunate financially, though each state’s Medicaid cancer coverage laws may differ.
Long Term Home Care
In some areas of the country, caregivers can find long-term home health care programs that provide care at home under the supervision of a physician and a health care team. These programs may provide personnel and services such as registered nurses, case managers, medication management, transportation to treatments, medical supplies and equipment, home modifications to meet the needs of the patient, and more. Ask your mesothelioma treatment oncologist or social worker if there is such a program in your area or through your local hospital.