Cancer is a complex illness that often leaves the patient and the family overwhelmed. In the hospital, they have the guidance of the medical staff. The real challenge starts on discharge from the hospital when they need follow-up care. This is where a Cancer Care Navigator can help a great deal.
Given the anxiety related to the treatment outcome, and the complexity of care and the disruption of lifestyle of the patient and the caregivers, coping with cancer care at home is a challenge. The family and the patient seek answers to many questions like what next, how to manage care at home, how do we reclaim control over our lives, what are the real options available, etc. This is where the role of a professional Care Navigator becomes extremely crucial.
We offer independent advice based on our expertise and experience of having cared for hundreds of patients in terminal stage over ten thousand days of care. We connect the patient to the right service providers after briefing them about the case. We also co-ordinate the services.
We provide care navigation assistance to cancer patient and their family caregivers to resolve real life issues. We help them find answers to their questions, overcome care barriers and adhere to care protocol at home.
Follow up care for a cancer patient depends entirely on the type of cancer and its complexity as well as the treatment of the onco-specialist. But in general, cancer patients end up having follow-up appointments with their doctors every 3 to 4 months during the first 3 years after the treatment.
Compared to earlier, the cancer patients today get early discharge from the hospital. This does not mean that all their issues are sorted out. In fact, cancer is known to have readmission rates as high as 27%. Many patients rush to hospitals 2 to 3 times a month soon after discharge from hospital, for supportive treatment.
At the same time, 1 out of 5 hospital readmissions are avoidable through healthcare services that could be safely delivered at home.
When in hospital the patient receives intensive care through all the clinical specialties involved. However, when they get discharged and come back home, they miss this intensive care. The gap created here can create situations that lead to hospital readmissions. The idea is to transition hospital like care for the patient at home and reduce hospitalizations for supportive treatment and clinical episodes
A good home healthcare program for a cancer patient should be doctor-driven. The home care agency should assign a dedicated doctor to monitor the patient regularly and extend the care protocol of the onco-specialist treating the patient. The nurse should be an onco-skilled nurse. The home care team should be able to provide clinical interventions at home under medical supervision to provide symptom
relief to the patient.
The follow-up treatment of a cancer patient may also involve physical therapy, nutrition support, counselling support, supportive care, etc. The cancer care provider should be able to enable support from these different specialties in a collaborative manner.
In short, home healthcare for cancer patient should be a collaborative approach with minimal clinical coordination needed from the patient’s end.
More information about cancer care at home is available at https://ubiqare.in/cancer-care-at-home/
We will continue to provide answers to more cancer care related questions here. So, watch out this space and stay engaged with Ubiqare Health.