Article submitted for publication by June Duncan, who runs the website

Photo credit by Pixabay

Getting a terminal cancer diagnosis is frightening and emotionally challenging. One of the difficulties patients face is finding resources to help a loved one get proper end-of-life care, and to pay for that care. Fortunately, there are options available. Meridian Health Care outlines what you need to know.


Getting A Personal Loan


When faced with substantial medical expenses, one option is to take out a personal loan. Lend Edu states that a personal loan is unsecured and interest rates depend on your credit. Often, they are lower than credit card rates and are therefore a better option. Another idea is to take out a reverse mortgage.  These are based on your home’s equity, and do not need to be repaid until you leave the home. These loans can be ideal in some circumstances, but you should weigh the pros and cons carefully.  


Be Creative


It’s important to think outside the box for funding sources. For example, some people liquidate assets such as stocks and bonds to help cover expenses. Another idea is to sell property that is no longer necessary, such as a vacation home or extra vehicle. Some people have an auction to sell off property, although Notre Dame Insider points out you should be careful if you decide to hire an auctioneer. Fees vary greatly, and there are scammers out there, so get references and check credentials.  


Funding For End-Of-Life Care 


Some people are eligible for special funding for end-of-life care. Several organizations can help, such as:


  • The Program of All-Inclusive Care (PACE) for the Elderly, available in some states.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
  • Older adults can visit the Benefits Check Up website to see what sort of assistance and benefits are available locally.


The High Cost Of End-Of-Life Care


According to some studies, out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare recipients during the five years before death averaged nearly $39,000 for individuals, $51,000 for couples, and up to $66,000 for those with long-term illnesses. Those numbers surpass the available assets of 40 percent of those people directly affected. With that in mind, it’s crucial to establish a plan that suits everyone’s goals so financial stress doesn’t complicate this emotionally challenging time.  


Tough talks


One of the best things you can do is have a conversation with your family members about end-of-life care. Note sometimes treatment is continued even though it is no longer controlling the cancer or relieving symptoms. A study cited on ScienceDirect explains patients often receive chemotherapy toward the end of their lives, even when such treatment may be unnecessary and even harmful. It may be time to transition to palliative or hospice care. These two situations differ in that hospice does not come into play until your doctor determines there is six months or less of life remaining.  Discuss options with your doctor and your loved one, and ensure your loved one’s best interests and desires are understood and pursued.  


Quality of life and hospice


As MedicineNet explains, hospice care is aimed toward improving the quality of life for those whose cancer can no longer be controlled.  The hospice team will work to address pain and uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea or shortness of breath. The hospice system also supports the family, both during the remainder of the illness and through grief counseling.  Hospice care can be funded from a variety of sources, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Health insurance can help with medical expenses if the spouse is still working, but unfortunately, it’s important to understand end-of-life services and care can be financially devastating without a plan for the journey. Talking through options with loved ones and medical staff can lead to your best solutions. Explore what’s available to you and ensure needs are met. By establishing a solid plan, you can find your way through this emotional and challenging time. 


The home health pros at Meridian Health Care are committed to being your shoulder to lean on and providing honest advice for your loved one’s situation during this delicate time. Reach out to us today by calling 847-543-0045.