There is a wide range of practical support available. This includes:
- help with transport and travelling to the hospital,
- and equipment to help if you are being cared for at home.
There is also support available to help with issues such as work and finances.
If you’ve got family or friends who want to help, ask for specific things. For example, they could update other friends and family members about recent hospital visits or test results. Or they could help with a lift to hospital, shopping or cooking.
Hospital parking and discounts
Many hospitals charge for parking. However, some people may be able to get free or reduced parking charges, including:
- people who often have to go to hospital for treatment, but they don’t need to stay overnight (an outpatient)
- family members of people who are in hospital for a longer period of time
- people with relatives who are very ill.
Check what the situation is at your hospital. Find out more information about hospital parking on the gov.uk website.
Travel to hospital
If you rely on public transport or lifts from other people, the hospital may be able to arrange your appointments around this, but this isn’t always possible. Some hospitals provide transport, as do the British Red Cross, local charities and support groups. Ask the nurse what help is available in your area.
If you are finding that travelling to hospital is expensive, you may be able to get financial help or claim some of the costs back. Ask the hospital staff for information on benefits and grants that might be available. Or get in touch with Macmillan Cancer Support for information about any financial support.
Blue Badge scheme
If you can’t walk or find walking very difficult – and this is a permanent problem – you may be able to apply for a parking permit under the Blue Badge scheme.
The permit can be used in any vehicle you are travelling in, as a passenger or driver. It allows parking for free in restricted parking areas, disabled public parking bays, or yellow lines.
You can apply for a Blue Badge from your local council, or online at:
- gov.uk if you live in England or Wales
- mygov.scot if you live in Scotland
- nidirect if you live in Northern Ireland.
Don’t apply for a Blue Badge from anywhere else, as it may not be legitimate.
If your cancer can’t be cured, it’s best to ask for a paper form from your council, or from the Blue Badge Unit if you live in Northern Ireland. Tell them that you have terminal cancer. This may make the application process easier.
Getting the right equipment to help you manage at home can make a huge difference. This might include ways to raise a seat to make getting up easier, grab rails to help you get out of the bath, a wheelchair or a hospital-style bed.
An occupational therapist is a professional who can help you find ways to carry out everyday activities that might be difficult. They will carry out an assessment to work out what equipment is needed and help you get it. Ask your GP or specialist nurse to refer you to an occupational therapist. You can also contact your council, or pay to see a private occupational therapist.
Some equipment may be free, but you may need to pay towards the cost of some things. This will depend on your local council. You may be able to claim benefits or apply for a grant to help with the cost.
If you only need equipment for a short time, such as after surgery, the hospital or district nurse will usually supply this. But it depends on your local services. Charities such as the British Red Cross also lend equipment.
“Keep persisting until you receive all the advice, support and equipment you need. There’s no such thing as a silly question and sometimes if you don’t ask you don’t get.”
“Get equipment as soon as it is needed to make life more comfortable. Having the equipment at home definitely helped us.”
Updated September 2019
Review date September 2021