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Working with your loved one's care team

Know what HIPAA regulations mean and how they can impact discussions with your loved one's care team

As caregiver to someone with lung cancer, you might speak with the care team (PDF) about care options and needs. The team might include oncology nurses, infusion nurses, social workers, and even clinical coordinators or patient navigators if they are available in your area. And don't forget the value of talking with other caregivers, who often share the same challenges and concerns.

Before talking with the care team, however, you and the patient may need to sign a few HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) release forms. These forms are intended to ensure your loved one's privacy. Failure to sign them may keep you from getting timely information about your loved one's health and being fully involved in his or her care. If you can, get ahead of this issue now. Learn more about how HIPAA (PDF) could affect you as a caregiver.

 

Prepare to discuss your loved one's care

When talking with the care team, you may need to cover a range of care concerns—from clinical trial participation to decisions about the treatment plan.

Questions to ask your doctor

When meeting with your loved one's oncologist, you may well have many questions.

They might include:

Questions about your loved one's current health status

  • What stage cancer does my loved one have?
  • Has the cancer spread?
  • Will my loved one require more tests before treatment?
  • Is there a short-term or longer-term "plan"? Can you share what each step of the plan is, and what to expect?
  • Will you provide referrals for additional opinions if needed?
  • Could you recommend a support group or helpful reading materials?

Questions about treatment options

  • How do we decide on a treatment and where to get it?
  • Do we have more than one treatment option? If so, what are the differences between them?
  • What potential treatments are currently being explored that we should know about?
  • Would a clinical trial be right for my loved one?
 

Concerned that your loved one no longer wants to continue treatment? Feeling like hope has turned to despair? Inspire the ones you love to accept the ups and downs of lung cancer treatment.

NEXT: Help Your Loved One Face Obstacles

 

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