Pregnancy, Birth and Maternity Info in English!

Finally, comprehensive and useful info in English for new and expectant moms and dads!

Ever wondered…

 

As part of our on-going collaboration with Kol-Zchut, we are proud to have translated and published the most comprehensive source of information in English for expectant and new mothers and fathers in Israel:

The Pregnancy and Birth Portal

 

We offer these resources, along with hundreds of pages of other Israeli healthcare-related content for free to Israel’s Anglo population, and in exchange we just ask that you:

  1. Spread the word by telling anyone and everyone you know who might be helped by our site and resources about us and what we have to offer.
  2. Participate by sharing your own knowledge, thoughts and experiences simply by leaving comments on our site and Facebook page or, for the truly adventurous, in the form of a blog post (email us for more info: info@shirapranskyproject.org).
  3. Partner with us by contributing to the Project so we can continue expanding and promoting critical information in English for you, your friends, family and all of Israel’s Anglo population!
    Click here to donate now and please consider an on-going donation as everyone contributing their little part helps us do ours!

 

Not familiar with SPP?

The Shira Pransky Project (SPP) was founded to help English speakers in Israel better navigate the Israeli healthcare system and make use of the rights and services that are out there.

What we do:

 

To your health!

A cancer patient counts her blessings in the Israeli healthcare system

By Ilene Bloch-Levy

Blessings for another day

As I prepare for another lengthy day of consultations, blood tests, and back-to-back treatments at the hospital I thought I’d spend some time counting my blessings.

Here goes… thank you for…

Returning my soul to me. Each morning, as I struggle to wake up, I say the “Modah Ani” prayer…”Thank you God… for returning my soul to me.” It is not easy to wake up each day with the thought, “I have cancer.” Yet, since my soul has been returned to me for another day, I am profoundly grateful and look forward to deriving the greatest satisfaction and pleasure from this day.

My smartphone. In spite of the fact that our smartphones have become virtual supplementary limbs on our bodies, oftentimes intrusive and even annoying, my smartphone has become my main communication tool with children, grandchildren, friends and family regardless of the time zone they are living in. We talk, SMS, email and what’s app…keeping in touch and providing ongoing encouragement, advice, photos and anecdotes about our lives. All of these fill my head and heart with wonderful, funny, entertaining and loving thoughts during my lengthy treatments and my exhausting trips home from the hospital.

My home fax/printer/scanner. Yes, I am grateful that I can print out and copy all of my paperwork from the hospital, doctor and health fund so that when an important document nosedives into the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ — which invariably happens — I can count on my handy home scanner/printer to regurgitate another copy. I always carry extra copies, saving me mucho time and mucho aggravation.

My nerves of steel. This is a helpful attribute when you are combating a serious illness, and have to navigate multiple channels, which while in theory are there to ‘work on your behalf’ are not always ‘working’ and not always ‘on your behalf.’ Such as the hospital’s oncology/hematology department social worker who gives you the 5-page form you have to fill out for the National Insurance Institute, which you spend days completing and months later it is returned to you because you should have filled out the 16-page form. Or the time you report to the hospital for a treatment and your file has vanished. Of course you know that is impossible, so you offer to help the clerks look for the file, which they view as outrageous. Not sure why. When you volunteer to scour the archives (forbidden territory for us mere mortals) lo and behold the file reappears. True magic at work.

My curious intellect. This is a double-edged sword, because sometimes you can become overly saturated with information, while at other times your understanding of your body and what it is undergoing can mean that you become an active, involved and engaged participant in all aspects of your treatment. You may even have ideas your physician has not thought of… or in my case, so far, she has thought of, but it’s nice to know you are both on the same page. Curiosity also plays to my benefit during my frequent trips to the emergency room. Cancer severely compromises the immune system, making you susceptible to just about any and all viruses floating around. Sneezes, coughs, sniffles and fevers hovering nearby eventually make a bee-line to me. So, figuring out how exactly the ER room works and how I can best manipulate it to my benefit, has been a time, energy and nerve saver.

My manageable-sized file. Each patient at the hematology/oncology unit where I am treated has a dull brown, six-paneled file secured by an elastic band. It carries results and information on all of your blood tests, bone marrow biopsies, protocols, medications, hospitalizations, bone marrow transplants, doctors letters. Everything. I remember when mine was new and crisp and I pitied those whose files were thick and worn. After two years in the unit, mine is worn, and while its waist continually expands I can still manage to carry it with one hand.

A better perspective on life. As a result of one of the drugs I receive intravenously, I am required to undergo all dental treatments at the hospital’s in-house dental clinic. Waiting for my, oftentimes, simple procedures I look around the waiting room and am eternally grateful that I only have to cope with the challenge of cancer. How many parents I see whose daily challenges include simple tasks such as helping their children dress, eat, stay clean. These are tasks which are still easy, natural and quick for me, while for these parents, they are all so time-consuming, debilitating and discouraging.

Ilene Bloch-Levy was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in March 2012. She grew up in New York and made aliyah in 1986. She has 6 married children, and her husband has 3 married children. They both enormously enjoy a gaggle of grandchildren. A freelance copywriter, Ilene lives in the Shomron. According to her, “One of the joys of working in Israel is that Israelis get the important things in life; during my treatments and hospitalization, all of my clients patiently waited for me to return to work.”

[Editor’s note: We are grateful to Ilene for sharing some of her personal experiences with the SPP community, and are confident that her thoughts will help strengthen and enlighten the readers. Her views are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Shira Pransky Project. If you would like to contribute to our blog with your own thoughts or experiences related to the Israeli healthcare system, let us know: info@shirapranskyproject.org.

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Cancer Patients – Rights, Benefits and Services

Cancer patients must not only fight the disease, but they and their families must also be aware of all of their rights within the healthcare system, in addition to all options for financial and emotional support.

Know to Ask

Review the various rights, benefits and services highlighted in this checklist to become more knowledgeable about what is available before making an appointment with the Kupat Cholim social worker at your local branch, a social worker at the treating hospital, or another guidance professional for information and assistance in accessing support. Download a printable version of this checklist by clicking here. You can print out that checklist and go over it with the support professional. Please note that many items have eligibility conditions related to age, means, insurance membership or other factors.

Discounts, Exemptions and Assistance from the Health Plans

Financial Assistance and Other Benefits

Employment

Fertility Preservation Treatments

Supportive and Nursing Care

Patient Support Organizations

This is not an exclusive list. If you have a need for a service you do not see here, we urge you to make your need known. If it is not already addressed by an existing program, many organizations will use their resources to facilitate your individual needs in any way possible.

Israel Cancer Association 1800-599-995

Transportation/Ambulance, Equipment Loan and Other General Services 

Counseling, Support and Rehabilitation

Children and Families Support, Recreation and Respite

More Organizations

Cancer Patients in Israel: Where to Turn

Here are your primary avenues for receiving helpful information. Remember to be persistent in seeking clear and comprehensive details about assistance and the means to access it. There are multiple sources for guidance and often you need to pursue more than one.

  • Kupat Cholim Social Workers: Every health fund employs a social work staff with hours available to address any of your needs. Speak to your branch secretary about office hours or to arrange an appointment. 
  • Hospital Social Workers: Hospitals have a social work department to assist patients in need of support. Contact information can be found at the hospital information desk or website. Additionally, many hospital departments have their own dedicated social work staff for specialized assistance. Inquire with the ward secretary for details.
  • Organization Social Workers and Other Assistance Professionals: Many patient support organizations offer guidance to the community they serve through social workers or counselors providing specialized information and assistance.

What Assistance Can You Expect?

  • Information about rights and services that relate specifically to a person’s circumstances, and practical guidance on acquiring them.
  • Practical insight, and some hand holding, on navigating the medical system, whether it be within the Kupat Cholim network, in the hospital, or where the two overlap.
  • More practical insight and assistance with other bureaucratic institutions, like Bituach Leumi.
  • Help finding and connecting with organizations dedicated to particular conditions, where there may be even more resources of specific interest to you.
  • Help with emotional coping in difficult situations.

 A Few Tips:

  •  Schedule a sit-down meeting with enough time blocked out to discuss what you need.
  • Delegate tasks to accomplish your goals. Note the things you need to do (e.g. call this office, obtain these documents, etc.) and the things the social worker is committing to doing (e.g. calling that office, finding out about that service, getting those forms, etc.).
  • Schedule the next contact. e.g. The social worker will call you in two days with some follow-up information, or you will meet again in a week to fill out forms together, etc.
  • Show your appreciation. Everyone in the healthcare sector chose to go into a profession dedicated to helping others. The social workers especially, did not do it for the glamour.

 

The information appearing here, along with some more resources, also appears in the Cancer Patients Portal we translated as part of our collaboration with the Kol-Zchut organization.

Remember that a printable, slightly modified PDF version of this checklist may be found here.

 

If this checklist helped you or a loved one, please consider supporting The Shira Pransky Project by visiting:
www.razoo.com/Shirapranskyproject