When we talk about escorts here, we mean non-medical people who come with you to some or all of your appointments or treatments. The policy of the Government of the NWT has been criticised for being unclear and too narrow and at the moment is being reviewed. New guidelines are expected later in 2015.
Guidelines say the government will pay for a non-medical escort where the patient:
- Is over age 65 or under 20, or
- Has difficulty caring for themselves, or
- Needs an interpreter, or
- Has cancer and is going for an appointment for:
- Diagnosis, or
- First consultation to discuss treatment plan, or
- First consultation with oncology, radiation or chemotherapy if personal care is needed.
How to get an escort paid to come with you:
- Ask your healthcare worker for an escort when you first make your application for travel.
- Many women also feel they need an escort if they are travelling for surgery. Be sure to ask for this as soon as you know you need surgery.
- If you feel you need an escort later in your cancer journey (eg: for a later chemotherapy appointment because of side effects), ask your healthcare worker at that stage.
- If you feel you need an escort but it may not fit with the guidelines you can still ask, your healthcare worker will need to ask the Medical Travel manager.
Being an escort is a big responsibility for your family member or friend. Your healthcare worker can help them prepare for your appointments and / or advise them how best to help you afterwards.