Advocacy After Diagnosis: Care Managers and Cancer Patients

Sitting in the middle of the consult room, the doctor tells you, “It’s cancer.” All the words that follow those two may seem like a blur. What type it is and in what stage, treatment options and recommendations may all fade in the jumble of thoughts and emotions flooding your mind. What a different experience that appointment would be if you had someone by your side taking notes, asking the right questions, and articulating your wishes. Among the many services Professional Care Managers provide, healthcare advocacy can be one of the most deeply felt and least remembered needs of those individuals with cancer.

With a diagnosis like cancer, regardless if you are 34 or 74, life can feel interrupted and overwhelming. Does my insurance cover this? Will I need care at home? If something happened who would speak for me? Do I even have advance directives? How will I pay for these bills? What do I tell my boss? While the questions can be noisy, Care Managers can help simplify the chaos, find solutions that fit your family and needs, and help you understand your choices. This can look like a Care Manager:    

  • Consulting to help you make difficult decisions and choices that are right for you
  • Organizing your healthcare documents
  • Creating a plan of care and arranging transitional care and services within the home 
  • Helping you make changes to any legal or medical documentation
  • Managing costs and helping you organize your benefits, medical bills, insurance etc.
  • Strategizing and helping you problem solve and plan for next steps
  • Navigating family dynamics and offering support and guidance to the family
  • Getting answers and asking the right questions from your healthcare providers
  • Coordinating cancer care and long-term care to help with everyday activities
  • Acting as a liaison between doctors and specialists while coordinating appointments
  • Providing disease education and translating medical jargon
  • Managing changing medications and treatments for chronic illnesses
  • Empowering you to take charge of your choices and options in cancer care

 

One of the most important tasks in cancer care is finding balance and remembering that YOU are not your disease. Between health insurance, benefits, long-term care insurance and medical bills the stress of managing and coordinating your care can make it worse and make it more difficult to heal. It can feel as though it is taking over your life, but it is crucial to have the space to be able to heal and connect with who you are and who you are becoming in the midst of the challenge. If we visualize our lives as being surrounded by a web of needs such as physical, emotional, and environmental, social, spiritual, mental, etc. it is easy to see how cancer can make that web chaotic to manage in a crisis. Professional Care Managers are able to sit in the middle of that web with you and create space for you to be you, rest, and recuperate.

Though they are often seen as advocates for aging adults needing eldercare, Professional Care Managers are experts in the care of vulnerable individuals of all ages. Their goal is to help clients live with planning and intentionality and create a high quality of life for them and their family. Click on the client web of care to see a visual that shows how Care Managers can introduce peace and guidance into the situation to give yourself the space you need to heal and flourish. 

Published on January 28, 2015.