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Urgently need advice on home care
1 Posts

My father-in-law is having a radical neck dissection removing all the lymph nodes in the neck and the tumour (salivary gland cancer).

Here is the problem. The hospital in northern Ontario is releasing him the same day and HE is required to sit up at all times and drain the neck tube himself every 3 hours for minimum 6 weeks up to 12. And he has no mobility in one arm which will be a result of the surgery.

This is stressing him out as he is in his mid 80's and lives alone. I am shocked they expect the patient to do this and he is on a fixed income and cannot afford around the clock care at home. I am flabbergasted the hospital sends patients home and expects them to change to tubes by themselves every 3 hours when they are paralyzed in one arm.

If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

6 Replies
2875 Posts

@Chris03 Hello Chris and I am sorry to hear of this “difficult” demand placed upon your father in law.

I am not sure how North you folks are….below is a link.

Also - try to reach the Nurse Navigator at his hospital or Patient Ombudsman to simply ask “strongly” for Home Care! It is URGENT NEED! I too cannot fathom that an 80+ yr old is to do this at home/alone….just all wrong….

Make Some Noise/at his hospital…..try his surgeons' office too; maybe the Medical Secretary has some resources to offer.

We are here to support you and your father in law.

Welcome Chris!


#where is the Home Care

455 Posts

@Chris03 Call 211. It's a national service and they'll advise you of his options and services available in your area.

2513 Posts

@Chris03 - I’m so sorry this is happening. Call the Canadian Cancer Society helpline at this link and someone can guide you through this.

Contact his family doctor to see if they can refer him to services such as VON.

Cynthia Mac
4332 Posts

@Chris03 I’m writing to acknowledge your feelings about this. When my Dad was in hospital with dementia and other symptoms that included not being able to swallow sometimes, the hospital started to talk about sending him home. That put me into a panic, because it would have meant his needing round-the-clock supervision to ensure he didn’t choke! Like you, this set off huge alarm bells.

You’ve got some great suggestions already. Here are a few others: If you have a community care access centre, contact them. There might be an option of getting him into respite care in a long term care home. That would give you two weeks to get him some round-the-clock care.

You note that you can’t afford round the clock care, but if you can arrange some amount of care to help him out, that will also help both of you.

Contact his GP and have a conversation with him about his needs going forward.

Please let us know what resources you’re able to connect to for him.

154 Posts

@Chris03 @Cynthia Mac

l was just about to type out contact a nearby nursing home for respite care

another thing to ask the surgeon about is will he have remaining functioning saliva glands?

If not he will need to learn to eat with a glas of water beside him

Some foods will require him to moisten his mouth and throat. My husband has had to do this since the start of 2020 when is radiation treatments destroye of his salivary glands.

please keep us update as you feel you can


786 Posts

@D1955. Hello Dee, and @Chris03

I, too have non-functioning salivary glands due to being successfully treated via oral radiation to kill the cancer at the base of my tongue, back in 2018.

I carry water with me 24/7 and need to keep my mouth moist in lieu of saliva….which maintains gum health. To chew and swallow food I require repetitive sips of liquid. There is water at my bedside always.

I've gotten used to my ‘New Normal’ so that my water bottle accompanies me everywhere and I don't leave home without checking for my keys, my wallet, and my water bottle.

There is a miraculous Canadian Cancer Society toll-free help line of trained oncology staff which can guide and answer all inquiries and may have suggestions for homecare and for changing the neck tubes of your father-in-law as well.: 1-888-939-3333.

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