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Practical Support Services

Practical Support Services

Ovarian Cancer Australia have collated information on organisations providing practical support services including assistance with finances, accommodation and home care support.

Practical Support Services for People with Cancer

Coping with a cancer diagnosis and its treatment is challenging. It often involves dealing with changes in your financial situation. For example, having to take extended leave from work, alongside unexpected out-of-pocket expenses for travel, accommodation, legal concerns, medications, treatments, and medical investigations.

We acknowledge that asking for financial, legal or home/childcare assistance can be difficult. However, your well-being and peace of mind is important to us. Our aim is to help guide you towards financial and emotional stability, and allow you to concentrate more on your treatment, recovery, family and friends.

Financial Support

We want to emphasise that seeking financial support should never make you feel ashamed or hesitant. The costs associated with cancer treatment can be overwhelming, and we firmly believe that everyone should have access to the support and resources they need during this challenging time.

Whether you're navigating medical bills, searching for help to cover household expenses, or simply looking for financial guidance, the links below provide access to the financial support you deserve. They can also aid with helping provide food/food vouchers and/or clothing.

We understand that everyone's financial circumstances are unique, but we hope that by exploring the links below you will find the assistance to best suit your needs. Remember, you are not alone on this journey.

Emergency financial and practical assistance/ support

·       Practical and Financial Assistance: The Cancer Council

Income Support

The Australian Government offers various Centrelink payments for people with cancer and their caregivers, including:

  • Carer Payment and Carer Allowance

  • Disability Support Pension

  • Rent Assistance

  • Bereavement Payment. 

Additionally, you might qualify for the Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card, which can assist in lowering your medical and other costs. However, Centrelink benefits usually have specific eligibility criteria and/or require income and asset tests. To find out your eligibility and application details, visit Services Australia website (https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/) or consult with your social worker at the hospital you are having treatment.

You can apply for payments online via myGov (set up an account at my.gov.au). Additionally, Services Australia offers a Payment and Service Finder to assist you in finding potential payments for which you may be eligible.

Resources for financial counselling/support

Finding financial counselling resources is a crucial aspect of cancer care. Yet, some people may feel hesitant to seek this help. Regardless of your financial challenges, whether they involve:

  • your mortgage

  • credit card

  • gas/electricity bill

  • or other concerns

the following links offer valuable information to help support you address these issues:

Legal

Finding the right legal support when you have cancer is essential because it can help protect your rights and well-being. You might need legal assistance to navigate complex issues like:

  • securing insurance/Superannuation benefits

  • managing medical bills

  • drafting wills, medical decision maker and advanced directive documents

  • addressing workplace concerns, such as sick leave or disability claims.

Having good legal support means that you can focus on your needs (ongoing health and treatment) whilst knowing your legal concerns are in safe hands. However, legal costs are expensive!  Click on the links below to find information about accessing legal costs at a reasonable rate:

·      Pro Bono Program | Cancer Council

·      CLCs Australia – Community Legal Centres Australia

 

Travel and transport Assistance

When you and your loved ones have to travel long distances to have cancer treatment, it can be both time-consuming and a financial burden. Fortunately, there are various support services available to help people with cancer to manage travel challenges.

These services not only offer practical guidance, but they also provide suggestions for financial assistance to help lessen costs. These services and resources can help ease your concerns and offer ways to better manage your time travelling to and from your treatment and investigations.

Accommodation

Being away from home during your cancer treatment is often a significant challenge. It impacts not only the person with cancer but also their loved ones. Unfortunately, travelling long distances is often unavoidable when the treating cancer centre is located far from your home.

Finding suitable accommodation close to your treatment centre, along with managing the associated costs is stressful. The Cancer Council offers options for convenient and affordable accommodation close to your treatment centre:

Home Care Supports

Coping with cancer, its symptoms, treatment and side effects makes it difficult to keep up with necessary home duties. For example, you and those close to you may be too tired to clean, garden, shop and care for your children.

Asking for help can be difficult but being aware of the available support services may help you feel more comfortable asking for help when you need it.

Certain local councils offer home assistance services and may even provide childcare support. To access these services, you can reach out to your local council directly, or alternatively, consult with your GP, oncology nurse, or social worker to inquire about the available services in your area.

Other helpful cancer support organisations  

  • Canteen understands that just when life should be filled with possibilities, cancer can unexpectedly enter a young person's world, shattering their dreams. For individuals aged 12-25, life should be full of exciting opportunities, not a cancer diagnosis. Canteen is here to assist in developing coping skills and programs of support for young people with cancer. To connect yourself, someone you know, or a colleague to specialised support from Canteen, email them at support@canteen.org.au, or call 1800 835 932.

  • Look Good ... Feel Better is a free national community service program run by the Cancer Patients Foundation. This program has been designed to provide cancer patients with practical ways to manage the physical, psychological, and social impacts of cancer treatment. It is a gentle program offering cancer patients a chance to connect with others in a similar situation, along with some pampering and care you deserve.

  • Carers Gateway: If you care for a family member or friend with cancer or any other medical condition/disability, Carer Gateway can help you. The Australian Government works with a range of health and carer organisations across Australia, known as Carer Gateway service providers, to deliver services to carers no matter where they live in Australia. Call 1800 422 737 for further information.

Talking to your medical team  

We have recommended various types of support organisations and networks to assist you in finding the practical and financial support you may require during your cancer treatment. However, it is also important to use your treating medical team for expert guidance on all aspects of your care.

Given their specialisation in ovarian cancer care, they often have information and advice not only regarding your treatment and its side effects, but also on how to secure accommodation near your treatment centre or obtain financial support.

Feel free to approach any member of your medical team for assistance in these areas as well as information on accessing other practical support. For example, you can ask your:

  • Social worker

  • Pastoral care worker

  • Gynaecological Nurse Coordinator

  • GP 

We understand that navigating this can be overwhelming and challening. For more information and support you can also reach out to Ovarian Cancer Australia and speak to an ovarian cancer nurse via the Helpline at 1300 660 334 (Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm AEST).

Get your own ovarian cancer nurse

Our free Teal Support Program is available to people diagnosed with ovarian cancer and provides you with your own ovarian cancer nurse to support you through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. 

Acknowledgement flags

Ovarian Cancer Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where our office is located, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.