One of my college-age sons wants to transfer schools. As a mother, my instinct is to get in there and … taking over! I want to search for colleges, make phone calls, and design a beautiful spreadsheet full of lists, links, and VLOOKUP formulas to ensure no deadline or interview would be missed!
This is a similar feeling that some HR professionals have admitted to having when an employee comes to them and shares the cancer diagnosis. They want to get in there and help, but they can't.
However, there is one thing they can do, and that is to give their employee with cancer a straightforward gift.
It's a Cancer Care Plan (CCP).
Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming. Hearing your name and the word cancer in the same sentence is unbelievable. Literally, not believable. In many instances, the doctor will have started giving your employee all sorts of information about other tests, or if they know what kind of cancer it is, the doctor will start talking about treatment options and start dates.
And this is what your employee probably heard "Wa, wa waaa. Wa, wa, wa wa!" Charlie Brown's teacher. Their head was stuffed with thick, water-logged heavy cotton after hearing the diagnosis. They can't hear much because they can't believe what they just heard.
Depending on when your employee with cancer shares their diagnosis with you or their manager, your employee will not be able to hear much of what you have to offer either.
Before you launch into your company support plan (if you have one), hand them a cancer support plan instead.
What is a cancer care plan?
A cancer care plan is a way for your employee to record specific types of treatment such as the type of treatment, the frequency of treatment and where treatment will take place. It's a convenient form that provides one place to store information at the beginning of their cancer journey.
What's in a good CCP?
A good CCP covers items such as:
Brief medical history, including other chronic health conditions.
The type and stage of cancer.
Type of treatment, radiation, chemo, immunotherapy.
The length of treatment.
The frequency of the treatment.
A list of drugs to be used and their side effects.
List of procedures and length of recovery.
Location of treatments and which ones may be inpatient or outpatient.
Special instructions for treatments.
Expected changes in the employee's body.
Contact information for any changes that occur during treatment.
Information about over-the-counter medications or supplements.
Preferred drug store.
It can include changes that need to be made at home and resources for financial, insurance, and emotional support as well.
Lastly, a good CCP also includes contact plan information for those who need to be notified, like managers, family, and friends.
Why is it helpful?
1. It's an easy way to show your company's support. It demonstrates to your employee that your company understands the difficulty of their journey and you are there with them.
2. Practical. As your employee with cancer puts their CCP together, they will be able to determine how much they will work. This simple form can help your employee wrap their head around what will happen and understand if they can or cannot work.
3. Lastly, having your employee complete a cancer care plan may help you understand accommodations, develop communication, and control messaging, and develop a work plan. It can even inform what kind of support you will offer your employee.
In other words, helping your employee with cancer understand their ability to work or not work will then inform everything as you move forward.
As you can imagine, there are other uses for a CCP. It can be shared with their primary doctor, and friends too.
In fact, I felt a CCP is so important that I developed a CCP just for my clients and readers.
What makes your plan so unique, Kim?
Because my mom said, it was!
Seriously, I recently searched 7 pages of Google and couldn't find a cancer care plan with all the aspects that I thought were important for my client or for me, so I made one.
This cancer care plan contains all the items mentioned above plus:
Space to list all the doctors that are involved in their care and their contact information
Space for preferred pharmacy information.
Space to list contact information for a point people
Space to list who else needs to be notified
Six different categories to jump-start the "this is where I would like support" conversation.
It's going to be really beneficial for them to list this out because those close friends can help reach out to the community for support, including their work community.
How can I get a copy?
About the son who wants to transfer colleges, I did make him a Google sheet. I did list out a few colleges I thought were suitable matches for him based on his choices last year, but I didn't fill it in. This is his college journey. And when I shared it with him, he said, "Thank you. This will make my search much easier."
And that is what I hope your employee with cancer will say to you when you download 100 Acts of Love's cancer care plan and gift it to them! Because making someone's life easier is a gift!