Hi there, my mom was just released from hospital into a care home. she has lung cancer but presented with many seizures that left her with some brain damage so she is not herself. The doctors who administer blood transfusions and chemotherapy are about a half hour away from her care home, and they say that someone like a friend has to be with her and not just a ride. I live about 300 miles away and my brother lives an hour away but works full time to support his family. According to him, the doctors don't give too much notice for her appointments. What advice would you give as to how we can organize rides for my mom? At this point, her friends are around but busy with their lives so we can't really depend on them especially for last minute rides to appointments that may take about 3-4 hours in the middle of the day. thanks for any advice! very best, Natalie

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I, too, would question whether chemo is a good option at this point. It sounds like your mom has some very serious health issues that would be difficult to recover from and retain any quality of life. I'd consider palliative or hospice care, depending on how old she is and what her prognosis and quality of life will be when she's done with the chemo/transfusions.
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I don't understand why the chemo isn't administered on a schedule, and that the doctors don't give much notice. My sister had several separate rounds of chemo, about 5 or 6 (plus radiation) in all I think over a period of 4 years. Her appointments were always scheduled, by the staff in the Infusion Center. There was never any last minute activity.

I don't recall if blood was drawn, but that could be done by the cancer nurses if necessary.

There are medical transport companies, complete with lifts. I've used them, over a decade ago, for wheelchair transport. At that time the charge was about $40 but I don't remember if that was one way or round trip.

One thing you might do is:

(a) Ask the nurses in the Infusion Center about companies providing transport. They would probably be aware b/c the patient would either be brought in by ambulance or accompanied by the driver. Once duration is established, they could return at an approximate time, with hopefully little wait time.

(b) Contact the closest Gilda's Club and ask if they have a social worker either as a member or staffer, and if that person has any suggestions on transport specifically for a chemo patient.

One thing I would be concerned about with paid transportation is what my sister said was bacterial shower. A noncancer doctor told me a few years ago that what occurred wasn't a bacterial shower (I had thought my father had one), but my sister was a nurse and if she said that's what it was, I believe her.

What had happened was that some level of bacteria must have been introduced into the blood with the post chemo flush. Spreading through the body quickly, it caused violent shaking and chills, as if an epileptic seizure was occurring.

When this happened, we were fortunately still at the infusion center, so she was rushed back in and treated. But from then on I always carried lots of blankets in the car and waited a bit longer before I took her home in case this happened again. It was very frightening. And I had no idea what to do.

If she's transported home by one of the paid services, you might want to find out if they've experienced this as it would require quick action to get her back to the Infusion Center.

I also echo JoAnn's comment. How old is your mother? What stage is her lung cancer? I'm not recommending no treatment, but with lung cancer, strokes, and seizures, this must be a real challenge for her. Do you feel confident that the chemo will help her lung cancer - what have the recommending oncologists said?

And, if it's not an oncologist who's recommended chemo, I wouldn't go any father until she sees one. Other doctors who aren't oncologists may have different recommendations than one who specializes in cancer treatment.
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Care facilities where I live do not accompany patients. They will order a transport but the residents go alone. A question? How old is Mom? Is the cancer treatable or are we just talking about extending life? You can have Hospice come in and evaluate. Then u can make decisions. My Mom is 89 and if she had the health issues your Mom has, I wouldn't put her through the chemo.
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If someone is required to be there, you might look into a care agency that can accompany your mother to appointments. You will probably have to pay a minimum number of hours - like 4 hours - but they can go with your parent. If the care home can't manage appointments for your parent, you may need to hire a geriatric care manager or look for a different facility that can help your parent. Does the facility that she gets her medical care at have any alternatives or a social worker that might help you?
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