Discussing your diagnosis and treatment plan with your health care team may be difficult given the time constraints and overwhelming nature of the discussion.
- Ask your treatment team if they can provide you with information on how they plan to structure your treatment (when, what, where and whom), so that you know exactly what is happening. If they don’t have a formal plan written out, they may be able to give you a verbal summary, which you can then write down.
- Keep track of your treatment plans from all the different health professionals you meet with by keeping a diary or writing these plans down. Your treatment team may also be able to provide helpful printed factsheets to take home.
- Don’t feel rushed and make sure you get answers to your questions.
Going to see your specialist doctor for the first time can be quite daunting, but one way to help is to take a list of questions with you to ask the doctor. You can refer to this list for an idea of some questions you may like to ask.
Questions unique to country cancer patients may include:
- What should I do if I experience these symptoms in the middle of the night?
- Is there a member of my treatment team I can contact? Can you please write down the relevant phone numbers for me?
- Would it be helpful for me to stay in Adelaide with family or friends for a while before returning home?
- How will I get home? Will I need to make my own transport arrangements?
- What type of care and equipment will I need when I get home (e.g. dressings, shopping, cleaning)?
- Who will provide the care and equipment I need when I get home?
- Can my follow up appointments be held at my home or will I need to come back to Adelaide again?
Social workers may be able to help you deal with practical, financial and emotional issues, while you undergo treatment. Social work services are available to all public hospital patients and their families and friends to help them deal with the issues they face.
Depending on where you’re staying and/or receiving treatment, you may be able to access social workers by calling the numbers below:
- Flinders Medical Centre: phone (08) 8204 4144
- Lyell McEwin Hospital: phone (08) 8182 9100 and ask for the Duty Social Worker
- The Queen Elizabeth Hospital: phone (08) 8222 7250
- Royal Adelaide Hospital: phone (08) 7074 0000 and ask for the social work department
- Cancer Council Lodges: if you’re a guest at one of these facilities, speak to reception about organising a meeting with an onsite social worker. They will do their best to assist you with any financial, emotional or practical difficulties you are facing.