Caring for debilitated and remoted most cancers sufferers presents challenges

While it’s uncommon for cancer patients to be without home or institutional support and less able to function, they may face additional unique and onerous barriers to receiving care, says Susan Sabo-Wagner, MSN, RN, OCN, Executive Director of Clinical Strategy for Oncology consultant from Houston, Texas.


What do you do with your most difficult patients who need support at home but have no one to help them?

These are incredibly hard, and they’re incredibly sad. It depends on how functional they are. When they come into an outpatient cancer clinic, they are generally functional. If they are not, they are usually in a qualified facility or a facility that can bring them here.

We’ve had some really challenging situations where patients think they’re functional, but they’re dealing with really questionable things at home. We’ve had a few bed bug outbreaks in patients coming in and not being able to get into the house ourselves we had to do patient safety checks, call the police and have them go and check. We had hospital case management support when a patient ended up in the hospital – because it usually doesn’t take long for someone who is not receiving adequate care at home – to receive home nursing care we have home nursing case management or case management in the home hospital and eventually exist between them and our team working together will be able to set up something that will put them in some sort of care facility, at least temporarily, while they are completing treatment or while they are in ongoing treatment .

Fortunately, having absolutely no one is not very common, but it’s sad, it’s very sad. Usually there is someone, but it’s more of a neglect situation. We had to call adult protection more than once which is also unfortunate.

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