06 Oct AceCancer: How Does Digital Symptom Tracking Help Strengthen Your Disability Claim?
According to the CDC, approximately 5.5 million Americans are currently living with cancer. In upcoming years, the American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 2 million new cases will occur annually. These outstanding numbers come along with increased financial burden and distress for patients and their families. Unexpected missed days at work, countless doctor visits, and rising prices for treatment can cause a significant decrease in financial security for many patients and their loved ones. Therefore, when financial strains occur related to undergoing cancer treatment, being prepared can help reduce additional external stress. Initiating your disability benefits can be a make-or-break situation.
Being an oncology nurse and the daughter of a former cancer patient, I have experienced the hurdles of filing for disability benefits. When my mother was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the age of 45, our family dynamic changed significantly. During her two-year battle with AML, I vividly remember going through extreme financial strain due to the complexity of her illness. As the breadwinner for our home, she struggled to pay incoming bills, while also dealing with the stressors that accompanied her journey with the disease. To support our family, the ability to have her short-term/long-term disability benefits approved was critical. However, her benefits were delayed due to the need for additional supporting documentation regarding her inability to perform her job. For many patients, a cancer diagnosis does not automatically qualify you for disability.
Cancer is tough to navigate. As patients, like my mother, maneuver through the various stages of treatment and approval steps for disability benefits, it is essential to document the symptoms they are experiencing. These insights provide value to key individuals that make life-altering decisions about how your financial picture will look.
AceCancer has designed a FREE digital health application that tracks key health indicators, delivers medication reminders, and connects patients with informational resources. Our unique platform is simple and easy to use, providing patients, and their caregivers, with a personalized and actionable dashboard that assists in the management of their cancer journey. This technology can help aid in capturing medical details concerning your need for disability coverage.
AceCancer can help support your cancer journey and application for disability:
Ongoing documentation about your health is imperative. As a reminder, if it’s not documented, it never happened. Be proactive by digitally documenting your Treatment Journey and capture pertinent evidence that shows how you feel while on leave. These insights can provide support to your disability request and can make your application stronger.
Keep detailed/organized notes of clinical visits
Most hospital systems within the United States use electronic health records, and these records are normally readily available for patients to review. Within your secured patient portal, dictated progress notes can be found. These notes are often submitted as supporting documentation for your disability claim. I encourage you and a loved one to review your clinical notes and confirm that your clinical team is documenting your medical presentation appropriately.
Track Medication Adherence
Taking your medicine as prescribed is important to your treatment regimen. Missing medication/doses can lead to disease progression, hospitalization, and even death. Therefore, a tracking tool such as AceCancer allows you to receive text reminders, improving medication adherence and contributing to increased survival. The ability to document medication adherence can prove that you are compliant with your doctor's orders.
Monitor and journal details about your symptoms and side effects
Did you know that more than 50% of symptoms are missed during cancer treatment? Some chemotherapy drugs cause debilitating symptoms that impede quality of life. Being authentic about your symptoms requires detailed documentation so that plan administrators/SSA representatives can understand exactly what you are facing. As treatment carries on, side effects can wax and wane, and for that reason, it is important to capture this data. The ability to provide detailed notes as you track your symptoms electronically should include the following insights:
- Rate your physical and mental well-being.
- Pain is considered a subjective experience. Therefore, I encourage patients to keep a running log that gives a clear description of what they are experiencing.
- Digitally capture notes that show how your illness impedes your daily activities of living.
- Logging these details daily can show trends of concern and will ultimately paint a better picture of your medical presentation to your clinical team and insurance representatives.
We hope that you find this post beneficial. Our call to action is for all patients to be their OWN BEST ADVOCATE.
Start capturing your clinical insights today at AceCancer.com!
This blog was written by Triage Cancer's partner, AceCancer.
About Triage Cancer
Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.
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