how cancer rehabilitation helps survivors to lead a normal life
It goes without saying that treatment of a grave disease like cancer takes a toll on the body of the cancer survivors in a major way. Thus, cancer rehabilitation is very necessary for the cancer survivors to help recover the body from the harm done to the body and to adapt to the physical changes post-cancer.
The rehabilitation medicine which is available very competently deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and also helps in maximizing the chances of recovery from the injuries done to the body. The overall process of cancer rehabilitation can be imparted by several healthcare experts by practicing a set of proven and effective healing techniques that recover the cancer survivors both physically as well as emotionally. The trend in the cancer rehabilitation process is as such that the primary caregiver who is usually the oncologist or the psychiatrist coordinates care for the cancer survivor with the professional helps of the rehabilitation professionals. The rehabilitation professionals are responsible to work in a team to maximize the chances of the cancer survivor’s emotional as well as the physical recovery.
Rehabilitation services for cancer survivors
The disease of cancer and its treatment usually causes several physical problems that include but are not limited to fatigue, pain and muscle weakness. These after-effects of cancer can interfere in the cancer survivor’s life in several ways physically and mentally. This is true that all cancer survivors may not require professional rehabilitation assistance but necessarily need to work towards the improvement of stamina and strength after surviving cancer.
Checklist of signs when a cancer survivor needs rehabilitation services
- Feeling weaker after the treatment than when cancer was initially detected
- Facing difficulties in swallowing and talking
- Feeling some unbearable pain that is not related to cancer
- Feeling more fatigued and drained out after the cancer treatment is over
- Facing orthopedic or muscular issues
- Unable to lead a normal life
- Not sure what exercises to do and how it will add to the well-being after surviving cancer
Memory problems and also difficulty in concentrating
If a cancer survivor is witnessing the above signs, then expert guidance and advice are to be inevitably opted for in order to improve the overall health and the ability to function.
Whenever a cancer survivor opts for rehabilitation services, the health care team usually ask a number of questions regarding the fatigue, pain, physical changes and emotional concerns that they are facing. So, it is necessary for the patient to jot down the list of the concerns in an organized way before meeting a rehabilitation service provider.
Every member of a cancer rehabilitation team work towards developing a plan that is as per his specific area of expertise. For instance,
- A physical therapist is responsible for developing a plan that helps the cancer survivor to regain physical strength and normal mobility.
- An occupational therapist is responsible for helping the patients to return back to usual activities while at home, work and in the community.
- A speech therapist helps the cancer survivor to overcome swallowing and speech problems.
- A vocational specialist helps the cancer survivor to successfully return back to work.
- A dietician ensures essential nutritional requirements
- A psychologist takes care of the emotional wellbeing
How long will a cancer patient require rehabilitation?
A completely progressive physical rehabilitation plan enhances the quality of life for a cancer survivor. Some of the physical side effects that a cancer survivor experience is temporary and can be done away with proper rehabilitation in no time. For others, the physical effects after cancer may last for years. If these effects are causing a lot of problems, then rehabilitation services are inevitably required for the cancer survivors to overcome all the side effects while recovering from cancer.
The period of time that a cancer survivor should opt for rehabilitation services depend on some specific issues like the following:
- What is a cancer survivor unable to do that he used to do before cancer diagnosis?
- How the cancer survivor’s appetite and diet have changed?
- How the activity level and the exercise regimen of the cancer survivor changed?
- What are the daily tasks and recreational activities that a cancer survivor could not perform that he or she used to perform before the diagnosis of cancer?
- How is the pain affecting the ability of the cancer survivor to function normally in daily life or ability to sleep?
- Do the cancer survivor desperately need to build up stamina and strength?
- Is the cancer survivor feeling very tired and is it affecting his functions in daily life?
- If the cancer survivor is worried, sad, depressed or anxious and the ways these are affecting the functionality of the concerned?
Does health insurance cover rehabilitation services?
In order to receive the rehabilitation services, the cancer survivor requires a health care provider’s order. The cancers survivor get this from the oncologist or the psychiatrist or the primary care provider.
Different insurance coverage from different insurance companies have several offerings and it needs to be seen that how the physical, speech and occupational therapies are covered in your health insurance policy for that year. Each of the insurance companies in India covers rehabilitation services in different ways. All you need to do is to call up your insurance company’s helpline and then talk to your case manager regarding the coverage of the rehabilitation services and find out what all rehabilitation services are covered in your health insurance.