Financial issues | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

A serious illness often causes practical and financial difficulties. You don’t need to face these alone.

Many services can provide you with support such as:

  • Financial assistance, through benefits and pensions (such as Medicare and Centrelink), can help pay for the cost of prescription medicines through the issue of a health care card.
  • For people living in rural or regional areas, financial assistance may be available for travel to and from medical appointments.

Ask to speak to a social worker who will be able to provide you with more information about the services which are available to you. Social workers provide emotional support through counselling and other services. They can also help with practical issues like accommodation, transport, legal and financial matters, accessing community and government support.

Legal matters

Although it will be difficult, you should consider the legal issues and consider doing the following:

Naming a power of attorney: A power of attorney will make decisions about your treatment if you are not able to decide for yourself, for example, if you are in a coma. Talk to your partner, family and/or a close friend about nominating your power of attorney.

Writing a will: It is important to complete a will so that you get to decide who receives your possessions and property. Your will can also contain funeral instructions. It is best to draw up a will while you are feeling well.

Preparing a living will or an advanced care directive: This will state whether or not you wish to be kept alive by artificial means or resuscitated if you stop breathing. Discuss this with your partner, family and/or a close friend, and give a copy to your treatment team.

You may also need to discuss with your partner, family and/or close friends:

  • How any children you have under 18 years of age will be cared for.
  • Your wishes about your funeral and burial arrangements.
  • Your preference about dying at home or in a hospice, palliative care unit or hospital.

Your thoughts may change over time, so it is good to keep others informed of any changes.

Content source – Cancer Council NSW

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