You have the right to make decisions about the health care you receive now and in the future. Documents known as “advance directives” are written statements declaring how you want medical decisions made if you can no longer make them for yourself.
Federal law requires that you be told of your right to make an advance directive when you are admitted to a healthcare facility. Illinois law allows for the following types of advance directives.
Tells your healthcare professional whether you want death-delaying procedures used if you have a terminal condition and are unable to state your wishes.
The Health Care Power of Attorney
Lets you choose someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the future, if you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.
A mental health treatment preference declaration
Lets you say if you want to receive electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) or psychotropic medicine when you have a mental illness and are unable to make these decisions for yourself. It also allows you to say whether you wish to be admitted to a mental health facility for up to 17 days of treatment.
- Do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) Practitioners Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
Is a medical treatment order that says cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will not be used if your heart and/or breathing stops; it can also be used to record your desires for life-sustaining treatment.
You should talk with your family, your healthcare professional, your attorney, and any agent or attorney-in-fact that you appoint about your decision to make one or more advance directives or a DNR/POLST order. If they know what health care you want, they will find it easier to follow your wishes. If you cancel or change an advance directive or a DNR/POLST order in the future, remember to tell these same people about the change or cancellation.
If you would like to receive an Advance Directive packet of information and forms, contact the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at (309) 451-2217.
Helpful website providing more information about Advance Directives:
National Cancer Institute
As defined by the Cancer Support Community, a caregiver is anyone who provides physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, or logistical support to a loved one with a chronic, disabling or life-threatening illness. Many people in this situation do not immediately identify with the term “caregiver.” You may not believe that it fits you, especially if you feel that you’re “just doing what I’m supposed to do.” You may even believe that drawing attention to your own needs will somehow detract from the efforts to help your loved one. Being a caregiver is, however, an important role to recognize. It allows you to be an active participant and essential team member in the fight against your friend or loved one’s cancer.
To learn more ways to help you cope with the challenges of your caregiver role please contact the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at 309.451.2217 who can guide you to resources that can help you and your loved one.The Carle Cancer Institute Normal Library
The Resource Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers many services to both patients and caregivers.
The Resource Center amenities include:
Seating areas to read or rest while waiting for appointments and treatment.
A small reference library of publications on cancer topics, coping and grief.
A public computer station and printer.
Information on cancer support groups, classes and monthly calendar of event for patients and caregivers.
Free educational materials on the following topics:
Additional Organizations and Programs
American Cancer Society
Caregiver Action Network
Family Caregiver Alliance
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service
Well Spouse Association
End of Life Care
When a person is nearing the end of life, each story is different. To help our patients with late-stage disease discuss end of life issues and to find a sampling of resources related to end of life care, call our oncology social worker at (309) 451-2217 or chaplain at (309) 451-2259.
Learn more about end of life care at the National Cancer Institute’s website.
Financial Assistance Resources
Cancer can have a devastating impact on a person’s financial well-being. A multitude of service agencies as well as federal, state and county programs exist. Social workers are knowledgeable about these resources and will assist you in identifying those that may meet your specific needs. The social worker acts as a link between the healthcare team and community resources.
The social worker can help you with the following issues or concerns:
- Social Security Disability and SSI
- Insurance Issues & Options
- Mammography Financial Assistance
- Paying for Medications
For more information about financial assistance, contact the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at (309) 451-2217.
Helpful websites that provide more information about Financial Assistance Programs:
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Home Care Resources
The social worker can provide information about the availability of home care services and a list of local home care agencies.
You can contact the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at (309) 451-2217.
Helpful websites that provide more information about In-Home Support and Home Care Programs:
Fact Sheet on Home Care for the Cancer Patient
OSF Home Care
The term “Hospice” originated in medieval times when it was used to describe a place of shelter and rest for weary or sick travelers on long journeys. Today hospice programs provide care for the patient whose illness is no longer responding to aggressive curative therapies. Hospice addresses all the symptoms of the disease with special emphasis on controlling the patient’s pain and discomfort. Hospice also deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of disease on the patient, the patient’s family, and significant others.
A hospice team consists of physicians, nurses, aides, social workers, spiritual care givers, counselors, therapists and volunteers – all of whom are specially trained to provide pain and symptom management for the patient and support for the family. The goal of all hospice programs is to improve the quality of the patient’s last days and weeks of life by offering comfort and dignity. Because each patient’s/family’s needs are unique, a hospice team works with the patient and family to develop a personalized care plan. Hospice brings this caring team right to the patient’s home, be it a house, apartment, nursing home or assisted living setting. Always, the focus is on controlling pain, managing symptoms, providing comfort, dignity and quality of life.
To learn more about Hospice or find a Hospice program in your area, ask your physician or contact the social worker at (309) 451-2217.
Helpful websites providing more information about Hospice Programs:
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Hospice Foundation of America
OSF Home Care
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP)
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Even if a woman has already been diagnosed with cancer, she may receive free treatment if she qualifies. The program has been providing breast and cervical cancer screenings to the women of Illinois since 1995.
The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program can help women ages 35-64. Women under age 35 who are experiencing breast or cervical symptoms may also be eligible.
To enroll in IBCCP, women can call the Women’s Health-Line at 1-888- 522-1282 (800-547-0466 TTY).. The Women’s Health Line will be able to walk women through the eligibility requirements and the screening process.
For more information about IBCCP, you can visit their website.
Medication Financial Assistance
Financial Assistance to cover the cost of medications may be available for patients who have no insurance coverage or cannot meet a high insurance deductible due to financial hardship.
For further information about available assistance, please contact the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at (309) 451-2217.
Patient Transportation to the Community Cancer Center
For transportation resources, please call the Carle Cancer Institute Normal social worker at (309) 451-2217.