Onco Impact Stories: Hand-holding through Cancer Care

by Team Onco
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Cancer patients and caregivers seek the best of treatment; both medical and personal. 

When Siya found out that her mother has esophageal and EGJ cancer, she immediately wanted to visit her and ensure that she got the best possible treatment. Siya lives in Jhansi and her parents live in Ujjain which is about 7 hours away. Considering the pandemic, and since Siya has a young child to care for, this journey became increasingly difficult. 

In spite of all the difficulties, Siya was certain she would do everything in her power to ensure that her mother got the right treatment and care. With the help of a care manager from Onco.com, this distance of 500 km between Siya and her mother dissipated. 

The care manager found several options for hospitals where Siya’s mother, Mrs Bharati, could have her cancer surgery. After weighing all the pros and cons of each hospital, including the cost of treatment and the accommodation facilities, a hospital in Vadodara was selected. 

Siya was very worried that her parents would be alone at the hospital for the surgery, in the midst of a pandemic. However, Onco.com’s care manager ensured that the elderly couple were provided a personal carer at the hospital who stayed by their side the entire time. From their arrival at the hospital till they left for their home, this personal carer accompanied them all day long, guiding them on where to go and briefing them on what would happen next. 

In this way, Siya managed to ensure that her parents were in safe hands, protected and comfortable for the entire hospital stay. Not just was the surgery successful but her parents also remained infection-free and stress-free while undergoing medical treatment in another city. 

The need for more than medical expertise

We live in the times of expertise, specialities and multi-specialties. Like most industries that thrive on technology, healthcare and particularly cancer care is evolving at an extraordinary rate. 

We have access to international medical expertise and many hospitals now follow a multidisciplinary approach to cancer management. In such an environment of progress and innovation, what could possibly be lacking in the patient experience?

The answer possibly lies in the large, crowded waiting rooms of popular hospitals, where scores of patients wait for their turn to see an oncologist for just a couple of minutes. What a cancer patient or caregiver experiences in such a cramped environment is the total absence of personal care. 

The journey through cancer treatment is filled with such instances, waiting for a date for radiation therapy to begin, not knowing the expected treatment outcomes, going through diagnostic tests without understanding their purpose, inability to understand what the test results mean, and several other such instances where the patient loses their sense of individuality and becomes just one among several other patients being served by the same staff. 

The sheer volume of cancer patients that need to be attended to on a daily basis, leads to a limited amount of attention available to each patient. Often this translates into unanswered queries, or explanations that are too brief or incomplete, leaving the caregiver and the patient in the dark. 

That’s why receiving personal care during this difficult time is of immense value to caregivers and cancer patients who are already struggling to adjust to the new normal enforced upon them by the pandemic and by cancer. 

Personal attention and assistance

This was also the experience of Bengaluru-based Shubam Naidu. Shubam’s father was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. They decided to continue treatment in Bengaluru but did not know which hospital would be right for them. Onco.com helped by having their reports and case history reviewed for an online opinion that suggested the best treatment plan for them, along with the probable outcomes. 

The care manager then provided various options for hospitals where these treatments could be availed, keeping both location and cost in mind. This allowed Shubam to compare the merits of each option and then make an informed choice. 

Shubam chose a hospital that was close to their present location. When they visited the hospital, they were surprised at the personal attention being given to them. The entire treatment was explained to them, along with details of the duration, the cost, and possible outcomes. 

The hospital then assigned personnel from the operations team to tend  to their needs, to ensure that there was always someone they could reach out to for complete attention. They have now commenced chemotherapy at this hospital and are keen to complete bone marrow transplantation here in the days to come. 

Personal and personalised care, and this hand-holding through each procedure, is what made all the difference for families like those of Siya and Shubam, turning what could have been a harrowing experience into a pleasant and even a positive one. 

 

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