Housing for Cancer Patients

While insurance providers may cover the bulk of the expenses for mesothelioma treatment, there are many secondary expenses which are not covered.  Housing is one of the most common secondary expenses of mesothelioma, and it is not often covered by insurance. It’s one of those expenses that doesn’t come to mind right away when first diagnosed, but it can seem like a real barrier when faced with treatments far from home.

There are very few mesothelioma experts in the United States so it is common for patients to travel far distances to get the best possible care. In these cases, long-term housing will be needed for the patient and family members who come as support. Even for those who are lucky enough to live within driving distance of a care center, the time and costs of commuting can be difficult so they may decide to get housing nearby instead.

The task of finding housing for mesothelioma treatment can be one more burden amongst the many chores related to the disease.  Before patients and their families begin to seek out housing though, they should always first check with the hospital social worker.  Many hospitals which specialize in cancer treatment have their own housing facilities for patients.  These housing facilities can include partnerships with condominiums, apartments, or local hotels. The partnerships give patients and their families discount prices.  If the hospital does not have its own housing facility, the social worker should be able to recommend facilities nearby and help arrange for the housing.

If you find housing for your mesothelioma treatment on your own, do not be shy about negotiating a price.  Many establishments are willing to lower the price for mesothelioma patients.  If you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself, you can ask the hospital social worker to negotiate the price for you.  However, most mesothelioma patients in need of housing do not have to find their own housing.  Because of the internet, it is much easier to find cheap or free housing for cancer treatment.

A Wealth of Resources 

You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a number of options for finding help with housing when you decide to seek the best mesothelioma care far from your home.  A good place to start is with the American Cancer Society which supports Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge operates facilities around the country that are located near cancer treatment centers.

Hope Lodge facilities are specially designed to offer a comfortable home-like environment so that patients and their family have a place to live during treatments that is comfortable. After spending many hours at a hospital in a city that is not in your hometown, it’s easy to begin feeling like you are just a specimen under a microscope. Dealing with disease and its treatments is very stressful, so having a retreat provides many benefits besides just a place to live.

Another excellent resource is the nonprofit Joe’s House. This organization helps cancer patients (and others) find affordable lodging. Joe’s House has an impressive network of facilities and hotels that will provide reduced cost housing.2 

The same is true for the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses.3 You can search by location and find a variety of facilities that include apartments, homes and specially built accommodations charging reduced rates or even free rooms if supported by the hospital or a nonprofit.. They are all close to hospitals in the area you select.

Finding out-of-town housing may seem like a difficult task until you realize how many support groups and organizations there are that are ready to help. A great place to start your inquiries is at the hospital where you will be treated. Each hospital has one or more social workers who maintain the information patients and their family members need concerning insurance, out-of-town housing, counseling services and much more. Many hospitals operate their own housing facilities to better meet the needs of their patients. There are also hospitals that work in partnership with nearby hotels or apartment buildings and may even subsidize some of the rental fees.

It may seem like you have to deal with many issues that are not directly related to getting well or improving the quality of life. Yet, having loved ones close to you during treatment to provide support is important. There are many options for housing, and you don’t need to panic at the thought of living out-of-town for a while when sick.

If you have retained an attorney to obtain compensation for asbestos exposure, the funds you are awarded may help you pay for the care and housing you need. The key to success is getting as much information as you can about financial resources and housing help.

References

1 Find Support & Treatment – Hope Lodge (2011) Retrieved from the American Cancer Society at: www.cancer.org/Treatment/SupportProgramsServices/HopeLodge/index

2 Lodging Guide for Cancer Patients (2011) Retrieved from Joe’s House at www.joeshouse.org/Default.aspx

3 Find Lodging (2011) Retrieved from the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses Incorporate at www.nahhh.org/lodging/