The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is “Close the Care Gap,” and working to acknowledge and break down the barriers which can prevent people from receiving the care they need. This year we want celebrate real-world progress that has been made to support people living with disability to receive the best care.
Finding the right people
Having the right people around you when you are undergoing cancer treatment is crucial. And as a person living with disability, the right people will help you to navigate the best path for whatever care you need.
In 2022 one of our clients, D*, experienced firsthand how having good and helpful people around you can make all the difference in the world.
The first hurdle
For many people, D included, having a regular mode of transport can be tricky. D was unable to drive, didn’t own a car and relied on taxis for most of his transport. So when D was told he needed to go to the hospital daily for radiation treatment the first question he was asking was “how will I get there?”, knowing daily taxi fares wouldn’t be affordable.
Luckily, the hospital came to the rescue! They offered D a space on their community transport service through St John’s Ambulance, but unfortunately this solution couldn’t accommodate his power wheelchair. But the hospital didn’t give up. They agreed to provide a maxi taxi every day to allow him to get to his treatment.
Understanding the person
When people take the time to understand the person they are supporting, everything runs smoothly. The team at the hospital understood this. For D, staying in one place for a long time was very difficult, and as we all know, often things at hospitals can drag out.
The team once again had a solution. Usually for treatment appointments the appointments are made one day at a time, and the times can be sporadic. But understanding that waiting would be more difficult for D, and knowing how important his routine is, they provided a regular appointment slot at the same time each day. The time was also at the start of one of their appointment blocks, meaning that not only was there less of a risk of waiting, but it was also less busy and allowed for more time if needed.
It only takes one person to make a difference
For each step of the journey for D there were brilliant people who were happy to work with him and find better ways for the system to support him to get the treatment he needs. When people work together to find solutions, then the systems can work with everyone, and create fair and equal care to all.
Embracing everyone’s differences
The key message behind World Cancer Day this year means understanding everyone is different and has different needs. People of different genders, races and backgrounds can all have different risks and requirements, which means receiving equal care does not mean care is identical for everyone.
One person can make the difference and help to close the care gap for everyone. We can see the progress that has been made, and the impact that individual efforts can make to allow everyone to receive potentially lifesaving care.
*This article has removed any personal details, including the name of our client, to protect their privacy.
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