Once you’ve been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, several important questions may come to mind. Some examples may include the following: What is the best course of treatment? Will I be able to endure certain side effects? How will I pay for medical care? What will I do once the disease reaches its advanced stages?
In regards to that last question, one important factor is where you prefer to live. Would you be more comfortable in a long-term care facility, or would you rather live at home?
If you chose the latter, you may find consulting a home health agency helpful.
What is home care?
Sometimes friends and relatives take it upon themselves to help a sick or disabled individual live at home for as long as possible. They can assist with simple tasks, such as bathing, cooking, cleaning or transportation. However, some jobs, such as administering medications, may require more skill. Furthermore, these tasks may prove to be too much, particularly if a caregiver also holds down a full-time job outside the home.
In these instances, it is a good idea to get help from a home health agency. Experts from the American Cancer Society describe these businesses as providers of a wide range of services, including skilled nursing, medical supplies, companion services, and homemaking to run errands around the household.
Why would mesothelioma patients select home care?
Once mesothelioma becomes advanced, you will have to decide where you want to live while you receive long-term medical care.
There are several reasons why choosing home care may be more desirable than institutional care. The former option would allow you to maintain some level of independence within a comfortable and familiar environment. Furthermore, it would be easier to maintain relationships with your friends and relatives. If any of them decide to take on the role of caregiver, hiring a home health agency would provide them some relief and make sure they don’t wear out.
Financial costs may also be a concern. Data compiled by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) showed that in 2009, the daily cost of living in a skilled nursing facility was $622. Meanwhile, one visit from a home health visit cost $135.
In 2008, individuals who had diseases of the respiratory system accounted for nearly 9 percent of home health patients in the U.S.
How do I pick the best home care business?
Home care services usually require an order from your doctor or other medical provider. The NAHC’s Home Care/Hospice Agency Locator is a great starting point for finding prospective agencies. Once you have a list of potential businesses, you’ll want to vet them thoroughly. The NAHC has some valuable questions for you to ask:
- Does this provider supply a Patient Bill of Rights?
- How does this agency pick and train its employees?
- Will the provider consult with my family when it comes to formulating a care plan?
- How are workers prepared to deal with emergencies?
- Will my confidentiality be protected?
- How do I pay for services?
Collecting a list of references from an agency is also important. Call each reference, and ask him or her about patient feedback. If one of the references is another health provider, ask about whether they referred patients who also had malignant mesothelioma or other similar disease. That way, you can gauge the agency’s familiarity with cases like yours.
Private health insurance policies may cover home health, but this can differ between different companies. Medicare and Medicaid may also cover some patients, but the laws may differ between different states. Furthermore, sufficient medical documentation may be required.