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Help at home and working with ovarian cancer

Practical assistance

There are a number of sources of practical support and help at home available for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

  • Program of Aids/Appliances for Disabled People (PADP) is state-based and provides equipment and aids such as wheelchairs, shower chairs and wigs for those women suffering hair loss from chemotherapy might be provided. PADP provides the equipment on indefinite loan for as long as it's needed, except for personal use items such as wigs, which are not required to be returned. Women need a letter from their doctor and needs are assessed by a health professional, such as an occupational therapist. The local hospital or community nurse can also provide information about other available schemes or sources of equipment.
  • Meals on Wheels will deliver meals on weekdays to housebound people for a minimal charge. You can contact them directly, but you need a referral from your doctor, social worker or community nurse.
  • Home care service/domiciliary care services can provide practical help in the home. They can provide services such as respite, basic domestic help and personal care; essential home and yard upkeep are sometimes available. Help is prioritised based on level of need and the cost of the service is adjusted according to individual circumstances.

Working with ovarian cancer

Deciding about whether to continue working will depend on a woman's health, financial situation and priorities. Some women who are feeling well, and who are employed at the time of their diagnosis, find that continuing to work is helpful. For these women, continuing to work makes them feel valued and provides them with the comfort of being around people with whom they are familiar. Other women who are employed at the time of their diagnosis want to make changes in their work life. They may stop work so that they can have more time to enjoy the things they have always wanted to do, or they might change jobs, work part-time, work flexible hours or do volunteer work.

Deciding about whether to return to work

If you feel you need more support (other than the support you receive from your family and friends) in making decisions about work, talk to your doctor or ask your doctor for a referral to a health professional who is experienced in counselling.

A discussion with your personnel manager or supervisor early after your return to work will be useful in clarifying expectations.

Tips for returning to work

  • Plan how and who to tell about your work arrangements.
  • Give your work as much notice as possible if you need to take leave.
  • Explore options for part-time work or flexible hours.
  • Ask for leave before you feel tired or burnt out.
  • Keep records of your work hours, and any discussions or correspondence with your supervisor or manager.

Last reviewed: September 2015

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