The Ins and Outs of Elderly Patient Hospitalization

By Esther Parnes and Michal Naor

Mr. Schwartz’s Cough

Mr. Schwartz celebrated his 85th birthday in the department of internal medicine. It was his second hospitalization in the last month. He started coughing at the beginning of the winter and medical tests showed nothing. After a week’s hospitalization Mr. Schwartz was sent home, though he continued to cough and reduce his varied activities. 

Mr. Schwartz has been a pensioner for more than 10 years and his time is dedicated to his many hobbies: photography, crafts, hikes, driving and social gatherings. The CT scan done in the emergency room showed pulmonary embolism in both of his lungs. After another week of hospitalization, Mr. Schwartz went home with a selection of drugs: blood thinners and diuretics with the hope that now he would be able to return to his formerly active lifestyle. However the medicines didn’t help and his condition further deteriorated.

Although Mr. Schwartz was still able to walk on his own when he was admitted for his third hospitalization, after two days in the department of internal medicine he could no longer move his body or breathe independently and was transferred to intensive care. An ultrasound showed that there was serious damage to the right side of the heart, and the words “cardiac insufficiency” (aka heart failure) fell upon Mr. Schwartz, his wife, and his children, completely changing their lives.

Hospital routine

Cardiac insufficiency and other typical ailments of the elderly often require repeated hospitalizations, changing the daily routine of the spouse and other family members and necessitating a reorganization of family resources.

Despite the supportive medical care in the hospital, there is a physical and psychological “price” for the hospitalization. Being removed from the home and a familiar environment, dealing with the loss of various physical capabilities, and worrying what the future might bring can sometimes be the cause of confusion, loss of spirits, and even depression.

Here are some tips for handling these issues:

  1. Notify the medical staff about any changes in the psychological state of the patient in order to get proper treatment in this regard.
  2. It is important that the family be at the patient’s hospital bedside. Remember that the hospital staff with all its good will is understaffed and unable to attend to all of the patients’ needs. Without someone nearby the patient can feel helpless and requests for assistance may go unanswered.
  3. Dividing the burden among the family members can help the patient greatly. There is also the possibility of hiring nursing care for various times of day or night when family is unable to be available.
  4. It is advisable to bring along reading material, magazines, or a laptop computer in order to make the hospital stay more pleasant (but one should also take precautions to prevent possible theft of valuables). It is also possible to rent a television for the patient from hospital services.
  5. It is important to make contact with the social worker at the beginning of the hospitalization and utilize his/her services. Every department in the hospital has a social worker whose job is to assist the patient while he/she is hospitalized, and also to make certain arrangements upon his/her release.
  6. Make use of physical therapists and their services, which are available in many hospital departments to help patients regain their physical functioning, including breathing rehabilitation.

Support for the patient’s spouse

The life of the patient’s spouse is fraught with many ups and downs. His/her absence from the home and the frequent visits to the hospital often cause a decline in both physical and emotional states. Worry about the patient can sometimes cause the spouse to neglect his/her own health. In this area, too, the family needs to be on alert to the condition of the spouse.

Release from the hospital to rehabilitative care

Following hospitalization, some patients need continued medical supervision and rehabilitation. The social worker of the hospital department will suggest an appropriate care facility for the patient about to be released and will contact this facility.  Families that confer with relevant professionals, such as a gerontological consultant, receive more in depth information and assistance in proper decision making regarding the continued treatment of the patient. These care facilities are paid for by kupat cholim. The staff in these facilities include: doctors, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and orderlies to help with patients’ needs.

Families whose loved one is to be released to rehabilitative care should note the following:

  • The family should act as soon as the hospital suggests continued treatment to facilitate the transfer to a suitable care facility. Due to lack of space in rehabilitative facilities in Israel, there is a waiting list.
  • It is important to note that the needs of the family (e.g. location of facility and accessibility) do not always match the criteria for the hospital staff recommending a facility.
  • Visit the facility in order to choose the one that is most appropriate.
  • Proper preparation on the part of the family of the patient and consulting with relevant professionals can ease the stress of the situation and may even be a deciding factor in the healing process.

Mr. Schwartz’s recovery 

Mr. Schwartz’s situation continued to improve as a result of the dedicated and professional care that he received in the hospital, and at the continuing care facility to which he was released. Upon arrival at home, special preparations were needed, details of which will be discussed in the next article.

Esther Parnes and Michal Naor are gerontological consultants. They can be reached by calling 054-765-6685 or 050-838-9490, or via the  אילת גיל הזהב Facebook page

Our strict contributed content guidelines ensure useful, informative and non-solicitous submitted content. Opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ own.

 

Related:

For related information check out our “Counseling Service for the Elderly from Bituach Leumi” and “Home Care from the Kupat Cholim” pages.

For more information on rights related to seniors, check out our All Rights Index (which is searchable and browseable), especially the Old Age and Aging Portal and Senior Health Portal.

Counseling Service for the Elderly from Bituach Leumi

 Senior Sign

Who? What? Where?

The National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) operates a Counseling Service for the Elderly which is designed to assist the elderly and their families in resolving problems they may be facing.

The service is available to any elderly person in Israel who requires assistance, and is offered in all Bituach Leumi branches throughout the country. Click here for contact information.

The service is provided by retired volunteers who are trained in courses given at universities and colleges to provide counseling, guidance and practical assistance to the elderly.

 

Services

Call Center

The Counseling Service for the Elderly operates a special telephone line for the elderly and their families on aging-related issues. The service, which is provided by specially-trained volunteers, operates Sunday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m (you can leave a message if there is no response) and is available in the following languages:

English – 02-6463404
Hebrew – 02-6463400
Arabic – 02-6463401
Russian – 02-6463402
Amharic – 02-6463403

Counseling for the elderly and their families

The elderly and their families can obtain information, assistance, guidance and support related to claiming rights and services for the elderly from Bituach Leumi and other organizations, offices and service providers.

Regular home visits

Volunteers visit the elderly on a regular basis once a month, for about two hours. The visits are only made with the consent of the elderly person and at his/her request. Through these home visits, the volunteers forge a personal, understanding, accepting and sympathetic relationship which is so important to the elderly, to improve their emotional and economic situation. These regular visits help the elderly, reduce their loneliness and improve their lives in general.

One-time home visits

Seniors who may be at risk or in distress are identified by means of one-time home visits, which are coordinated in advance with the elderly person or his/her family. The target population includes those defined as being at risk due to impaired functioning and dependence on others, advanced age (above the age of 80) or family status (widowed). The information is obtained from the Bituach Leumi database. Those found to be in need of assistance, such as referral to a care facility, some kind of intervention or regular home visits, receive continued care and follow-up.

Support groups

The types of support groups vary from one branch to another, and are established according to the unique needs of the local population, such as the elderly blind, spouses of long-term care patients, the middle generation who are coping with the age-related crises of their elderly parents, etc.

Support groups for widows and widowers

There are support groups for widows and widowers at every branch. The main purpose of these groups is to provide emotional assistance during the crisis and support in preparing to return to their normal lives. The group facilitators are social workers and professionals in the field of elder counseling at the branches. The groups contain up to 15 participants and the meetings continue for about three months, once a week for two hours each time. Participation in the groups serves as a significant anchor for the participants – they share with other group members the process of working through their grief and coping with their personal loss, and they acquire the spiritual strength and personal validation they need to return to a normal life.

 

For more information on Bituach Leumi’s Counseling Service for the Elderly, click here.

For more information on rights related to seniors, check out our All Rights Index (which is searchable and browseable), especially the Old Age and Aging Portal and Senior Health Portal.

 

If this information was helpful to you, please enable us to help others by supporting the project:
 www.shirapranskyproject.org/donate/ 

Medication Look-Up: Basic Basket and Supplemental Plans

pillbottle

Have you ever wondered if/to what extent your medications are covered by national health insurance or your supplemental plan?

Use the links listed below to search listings of  the medications covered by the basic Healthcare Basket or by the supplemental insurance plans from each kupat cholim.

co-payment is often required for all medications, and coverage may be dependent on meeting diagnostic criteria and/or other clinical factors specified in the listings (in Hebrew). 

 

Medications in the Healthcare Basket

Medications included in the Healthcare Basket are provided to anyone covered by national insurance (anyone entitled to national insurance/paying Bituach Leumi contributions).

 

Medications Covered by Supplemental Health Plans

Those who have a supplemental health plan are entitled to full or partial coverage of some medications which are not included in the Healthcare Basket.

  • Clalit (Mushlam Platinum, Mushlam Zahav) – PDF document – as of January 2016
  • Leumit (Silver, Gold) – Database search – click the letter or enter the English first letters into the search box
  • Meuhedet (Adif, C) – Database search – enter the English first letters into the search box
  • Maccabi (Sheli, Magen Kesef, Magen Zahav) – Database search – click the letter or enter the English first letters into the search box

 

Please note: Websites and listings may change or be updated over time so please leave a comment below if a link doesn’t work or is outdated.

 

If this information was helpful to you, please enable us to help others by supporting the project:
 www.shirapranskyproject.org/donate/ 

Emergency Information for People with Special Needs

emergency information

The following emergency information and recommendations for people with the special needs provided by Pikud HaOref (Home Front Command) is intended for individuals with medical problems, limited mobility (and the home-bound), deafness or hearing impairment, blindness or visual impairment, intellectual developmental disorders, autism or dementia.  

The Home Front Command’s English website can be found here: http://www.oref.org.il/894-en/Pakar.aspx and the source page for this information here: http://www.oref.org.il/10660-en/Pakar.aspx.

Information for people with special needs concerning protection against rocket attack

These instructions are intended for people with special needs. Their aim is to help people with disabilities and their families, caregivers, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and professionals prepare properly and act in accordance with the required procedures in case of rocket attack.

Tips:

  • If you are in a secure space it is desirable that you remain with other people, especially people you know who can create a supportive environment.
  • It is a good idea to notify a neighbor, relative or friend as well as the assistance providers in the Authorities of the presence of a handicapped person at this location, and to give them telephone numbers, e-mail and SMS addresses, etc where you can be reached.
  • It is recommended that you apply to a relevant organization, to a professional association with which you maintain ties, or to the municipal call center to ensure beforehand that there is someone who will be able to help you in time of need. 
  • Prepare in advance all essential telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses and Internet support sites of contact persons.
  • For owners of mobile phones – ensure that the battery is fully charged and that the battery charger can be reached at all times.
  • You can call the service call center of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services (118) or the Local Authority (106) for the general community of handicapped and elderly residents

Preparation of the secure room

  • Select the secure space in advance in accordance with the instructions of Pikud Haoref and prepare the path to it in keeping with your needs and disability.
  • Clear away objects such as planters, various decorative objects, etc that might block or hinder your movement to and from the secure space.
  • Make sure that essential things and devices are in their permanent places, identified and easily accessible.
  • Equip the selected secure space with the special auxiliary devices you need, in your judgment, such as hearing aid, cleaning supplies and reserve batteries, television receiver with amplifier (if you have one) and power supply for the amplification system, fax machine with extra paper and spare ink cartridge, mobile phone for sending and receiving SMS messages, Zimunit (beeper) charger and computer batteries with Internet connection, multi-socket electric extension cord, writing tools and notebook, ID tag showing important information (such as “I read lips only”) and any warning systems you may have (such as baby-Minder system, warning of ringing telephone, fax, alarm, amplifier or blinking light indicating knocking on the door or ringing doorbell, emergency button, whistle or bell used to call for help).
  • Be sure that all devices and objects are within easy reach.
  • It is recommended that you equip the room with water (at least one liter per person), some food and a first-aid kit.
  • All Pikud Haoref instructions will be broadcast over the media. Ensure in advance that all communications devices in your secure space are in working order and locate them in a place with good reception.
  • Click here for instructions concerning what to do in case of an event.

For people with medical problems

  • In so far as possible, prepare medical documents signed by your treating physician that indicate the following: the state of your health, the medication you take including required dosage, list of regular tests you have to undergo, an extra prescription and any other information that may be relevant, such as dietary instructions, other doctors’ orders and Health Fund membership card.
  • Be sure you have a sufficient quantity of medicines and take care to prepare a list of times at which you must not take them.
  • Make sure to prepare any equipment you need, such as insulin syringe, oxygen, etc.

Preparations for people who are home-bound

An extended period in the house or secure space may result in attacks of anxiety and stress, which may negatively impact your own function and that of your family members in an emergency. As a rule we recommend that you prepare a family emergency plan, including games, conversation and other activities that will help the family to cope with the challenges and difficulties accompanying an extended emergency situation.

For the deaf and hearing impaired

For the blind and visually impaired

  • Organize the secure space and ensure that it affords maximum accessibility and convenience.
  • Remove any objects that may interfere with unlimited mobility.
  • Prepare a personal identification card including first name and family name, ID number, name of health fund and treating physician, name of accompanying caregiver, list of medications, blood type, special needs, allergies, critical medical information and telephone numbers of family members and friends.
  • In the secure space prepare guide dog equipment and important personal equipment.
  • For additional information, you may contact the Rehabilitation Section, Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services at Tel 02-6708181 or Fax 02-6703646.

For people with limited mobility

  • Choose a secure space appropriate for the nature of your disability so that when you hear a siren or the “tzeva adom” broadcast alarm you will be able to reach it in safety and within the time specified in the Pikud Haoref instructions. If you need more time to reach the secure space than that specified in the instructions, either choose a different secure space or make preparations in the secure space that will allow you to sleep in the secure space you have chosen.
  • Arrange the secure space and the approach to it in order to ensure maximum accessibility and convenience. Remove any objects that may interfere with unlimited mobility. If you use a motorized wheel chair or a “Kalnoit” mobility scooter be sure that extra batteries, a battery charger and a non-motorized wheelchair are available.
  • Be prepared for situations in which it is impossible to use an elevator and you will have to be carried, without your personal wheelchair.
  • Be prepared for the possibility of a flat tire. Prepare a tire repair kit with the possibility of filling the tire with air as needed or prepare spare inner tubes and a pump.
  • Consider the possibility of equipping yourself with heavy-duty gloves so that you can turn the wheels to move the wheelchair on rough ground.
  • Prepare a folder indicating your personal information and equipment for a prolonged stay in the secure space, packed so that it can be attached to the wheel chair, walker, Kalnoit, etc.

For people with foreign assistants

Advise the foreign assistants of notices published in the media in foreign languages and on the website as well as in the information center of Pikud Haoref at Tel 1207.

For those with intellectual development disorders or autism

  • It is advisable to rehearse  the things they have to do to reach and enter a secure space and what they should do when they hear the “tzeva adom” broadcast alarm or siren.
  • Prepare medications, necessary auxiliary devices and important personal equipment. It is a good idea to prepare extra clothing, personal hygiene necessities, food and drink in accordance with the personal taste of the people in question. If special food is needed, prepare food that has been ground in a blender or food substitutes.
  • It is important to create a calm atmosphere in the secure space, with pleasing and relaxing activities. Tension and pressure can be dispelled through relaxation, involvement, calling the person by name, breathing exercises, etc.
  • If a person with intellectual developmental disorders has additional limitations (such as limited mobility or psychological problems), refer to the pertinent instructions for these limitations.
  • Prepare a personal identification card including: first name and family name, ID number, name of health fund and treating physician, name of accompanying caregiver, list of medications, blood type, special needs, allergies, critical medical information and telephone numbers of family members and friends.

Instructions concerning the secure space

In an emergency, warning sirens are sometimes heard. These sirens let us know that we are under missile attack. When you hear the siren, you should act in accordance with the following instructions immediately:

  • If you have a Mamad (a secure space in your home or apartment), enter the room and close both the door and the window. If there is enough time, you can go down to the shelter.
  • If you don’t have a secure space in your home or apartment and there is no way or time to get to a shelter, you should go to the place in your home that offers the best protection possible. The best-protected place in the home is an interior room that has few windows and no outside wall. If you live in a multi-story building, you can go to the stairwell.
  • Wherever you may find yourself at the time, you should stay away from windows and wait until the alarm ends and then wait a few more minutes to be sure that the attack is over.
  • It is desirable to be with other people – in that way you will feel more secure. In the meantime, you can speak with them or think about good things in order to calm yourself. When all is over, you can return to your house. Most important of all – don’t panic!

Preparations for people suffering from dementia

  • Locate a secure space in the house ahead of time and become familiar with it.
  • Become familiar with the shelter procedures for emergencies. 
  • Identify the contacts, treatment and rehabilitation people who can help you in an emergency, if relevant. When escalation occurs, it is advisable to get medications, water and food in time.
  • If you have questions concerning yourself or members of your family, please contact an available clinic or rehabilitation facility.

 

For tips on coping with stress and anxiety see the NATAL (“Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War”) website in English.

 

If this information was helpful to you, please enable us to help others by supporting the project:
 www.shirapranskyproject.org/donate/

 

People with Disabilities

Information in English for people with disabilities!

Thousands of Israelis have disabilities of various types including physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. Many of these people and their families are entitled to a wide range of services, benefits and support of which they might not be aware.

 

Did you know…

 

As part of our on-going collaboration with Kol-Zchut, we are proud to have translated and published a comprehensive portal in English for people with disabilities. For more information including details and links related to accessibility, employment, housing, military service, relevant benefits and more, check out:

The People with Disabilities Portal

Girl_in_wheelchair

 

We offer these resources, along with hundreds of pages of other Israeli healthcare-related content for free to Israel’s English-speaking population.

Click here to donate now and please consider an on-going donation as everyone contributing their little part helps us do ours!

You can also help by:

  1. Spreading the word: Tell anyone and everyone you know who might be helped by our site and resources about us and what we have to offer.
  2. Collaborating with us by sharing your own knowledge, thoughts and experiences simply by leaving comments on our site and Facebook page (or simply “Liking” it) or, for the truly adventurous, in the form of a blog post (email us for more info: info@shirapranskyproject.org).

 

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 ! לבריאות

Children with Special Needs – Rights, Benefits and Services

In addition to the inherent difficulties of parenting, parents of children with special needs find themselves confronted with many financial, social and bureaucratic hardships when trying to get the best available support and services for their children. These hardships are simply compounded for immigrants and those who do not speak Hebrew as a first language. The information on this page is primarily relevant for children with sensory, developmental, cognitive or motor disorders and their families.

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 from an aid organization, 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

Education

Financial Assistance and Other Benefits

Employment

Supportive and Nursing Care

Patient Support Organizations

This is not an exclusive list, check out the “Children” section of our organizations directory for more organizations. 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.

General Services

Counseling, Support and Rehabilitation

Recreation and Respite

Specialized Organizations

More Organizations

  • ALEH (severe cognitive and physical disabilities) 02-501-1000
  • Kav-Or (distance learning in hospitals) 077-717-1919
  • Tlalim (educational support) 02-571-0555
  • Variety Israel (financial assistance) 03-644-7220

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. The Child Development Services branches also offer assistance from social workers.
  • 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.
  • School Social Workers and Other Assistance Professionals: Many schools with special needs programs offer guidance to their parents 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 system, whether it be within the healthcare system, in government bureaucracy or the education system.
  • 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 Children with Special Needs Portal and the Special Education and Integration into Regular Education Portal we translated as part of our collaboration with the Kol-Zchut organization. Comprehensive information for parents of children with special needs can also be found in the Kesher Organization’s Ksharim Booklet.

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:
ShiraPranskyProject.org/donate

Health-Related Hebrew Vocabulary

While The Shira Pransky Project is committed to making the Israeli healthcare system more accessible for English-speakers, it is always important and recommended for anyone living in Israel to master the Hebrew language to the best of their ability.

The following glossary of key health-related Hebrew vocabulary can come in very handy especially if and when you find yourself struggling with the Israeli healthcare system!

Very special thanks to Joel Yaron Publishing for providing this valuable resource, which was taken from the book English Hebrew by Subject. 

Glossary - General and Symptoms

Glossary - Common and Serious

Glossary - People and Places

Glossary - Treatment and Equipment

Glossary - Prevention and Dentistry

Glossary - Adjectives and Verbs

Glossary - Verbs Continued and CreditsGlossary - General and SymptomsGlossary - General and SymptomsGlossary - General and Symptoms

 

You may find the original printable PDF file of the glossary here.

You may find other printable PDF resources on our “Forms and Files” page.

 

To Your Health ! לבריאות

Forms and Files

This page contains some basic yet necessary resources for navigating the Israeli healthcare system including some useful resources in PDF format such has health plan brochures, which can be easily viewed, downloaded and printed, as well as links to many forms you might need in order to claim rights, benefits or services. Please note that all of the PDF resources included on this page are in English, though many of the forms are only available in Hebrew.

PDF Resources

While all of the documents here should be in their most updated form, they are not all necessarily up-to-date, as English content is usually not a top priority for the organizations that produce them. They should therefore only be used as general guides and not the ultimate authority on any issue.

Kupot Cholim (Health Funds)

Clalit Health Services

Leumit Health Fund

Maccabi Healthcare Services

Meuhedet Health Services

The Shira Pransky Project and Other Support/Assistance Organizations

Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute)

Misrad HaBriut  (Ministry of Health)

Misrad HaKlitah (Ministry of Immigrant Absorption)

Misrad HaOtzar (Ministry of Finance)

 

We have tried to only include the most updated versions of all documents. The fact that some are years old is simply indication that production of materials in English is not a top priority for the kupot cholim, government ministries and other organizations. If you come across any materials that you think should be added to this page or a more up-to-date version of any of the documents appearing here, please let us know: info@shirapranskyproject.org

Forms

The forms linked to on this page are from a variety of governmental and non-governmental bodies. We link to external sites in order to better ensure that the form versions and links are as up-to-date as possible.

Please contact us if you have trouble finding a specific form, if there’s a form we should add to this section, or if  you do not have anyone who can help you fill out the form or document you need: info@shirapranskyproject.org.

 

To Your Health ! לבריאות

What You Should Know When Waiving Medical Confidentiality

  • Patient consent must always be obtained in advance whenever medical confidentiality is compromised (except in specific cases detailed in the law).
  • This consent is provided by the patient in the form of a Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (ויתור על סודיות רפואית), also known as a “Vasar” (וס”ר).
  • A Vasar may be required for a variety of reasons such as certain medical procedures or enrollment in a new insurance plan.

Always read the waiver carefully and know that you can limit its scope, as standard waivers often mean that:

  • The signer waives his/her right to medical confidentiality without a time limit;
  • There is no nominal limit on who is permitted to view the information and therefore any employee of the organization that receives the information can view the medical file sent to the organization;
  • The party that receives the “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver” can view all of the signer’s medical records whether they are relevant or not to the claim/issue at hand.

You should always limit the waiver’s scope in any and all of the following ways whenever possible:

  1. Limit the topic/purpose of the waiver – Is there need for a general confidentiality waiver which is a waiver including all medical issues, or is a limited waiver possible (for a specific medical topic and/or for specific purpose)?

  2. Limit the period in which the waiver will be effective – It is important that a confidentiality waiver will be time-limited (for example, until a specific date or until the conclusion of the task for which the medical confidentiality waiver is required).

  3. Give limited authorization for transfer of information to a specific individual or position holder – If it is possible to limit the authorization as such that the waiver will only be valid for a specific individual or position holder and not for an entire body, authority or company, because then the waiver is valid for everyone in that body (for example, regarding an insurance company, it is important to ensure that the confidentiality waiver will only be valid for doctors, lawyers or specific people/position holders that work for the insurance company).

 

For more information, check out our page on Patient Privacy, as well as some related pages we have translated as part of our collaboration with Kol-Zchut:

 

 

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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

Health Ministry Directive Requiring English Accessibility from Healthcare Providers

The following circular was released in February of 2011, and the requirements it describes were expected to come into effect in February 2013. We’ll have much more to say about this initiative in Israeli healthcare and how important it is for all members of the English-speaking community to be aware of the rights described within this document. Meanwhile, take the time to look it over- you can expand to full screen view, or download and print- and share it with others!

Health Ministry Circular on Language Accessibility of Health Services by EnglishAccessibility

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Home Care from the Kupat Cholim

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About this Benefit

All of the kupot cholim (health plans) offer home care services to patients who can’t get all of the medical services they need due to difficulty leaving the home. A full range of medical services are provided with home visits from doctors, nurses, and social workers, as well as paramedical providers, like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and others.

Who is Entitled

Home care services are intended for patients who are confined to their homes temporarily or permanently due to their medical/physical condition and are not able to receive services in the kupat cholim branches.  For Example: 

  • Patients with chronic illness
  • Patients returning home after hospitalization
  • Oncology patients
  • The elderly

How to Get it

Individuals may be referred to the Home Care Unit (יחידה לטיפול בית or יחידה להמשך טיפול)  by hospital staff, a family doctor, local social services or by contacting the unit directly. Contact information can be obtained from your local branch secretary or your kupat cholim’s information hotline.

Cancer patients may be entitled to additional home care through the Israel Cancer Association. Click here for more information.

Resources

 

If this information was helpful to you, please enable us to help others by supporting the project:

 www.shirapranskyproject.org/donate/ 

Private Insurance Consumer Guide

Unlike national health insurance delivered by the health funds and Misrad Habriut, insurance companies sell policies expanding the basic package of services, offering additional layers, and providing a level of service that the basic package omits, including private health services such as long-term care. These policies can be examined independently via registered insurance agents, as well as compared to the supplemental plans offered by your Kupat Cholim.

The private insurance companies are regulated by the Finance Ministry, and in the year 2000 they released the following aid to the consumer, explaining the types of policies available and offering advice and tools for comparison:

Patient Privacy

The Law

The Patient’s Rights Law was approved by the Knesset on May 1, 1996. The law has come to define the relationship between people requiring treatment and doctors and other medical professionals. The following statement appears in the first paragraph of the law: “This law’s purpose is to define the rights of a person requesting medical treatment or receiving medical treatment and to protect his dignity and privacy.”

Medical treatment is a partnership between the patient and the medical team. The assumption upon which the Patient’s Rights Law is based is that the patient is an intelligent person generally capable of asserting his/her right to receive proper medical treatment. The following protections are guidelines that emerge from this law and others, and from directives issued by Misrad Habriut (The Ministry of Health) to protect the patient’s dignity and privacy.

During an Examination

Physical examination in private

Anyone who is examined is entitled to have an additional person present, either a person of his/her choice or an employee, while the examination is being performed.

The presence of a student during a medical examination

A patient has the right to refuse the presence of and/or examination by a student while the patient is receiving medical treatment.

Parents’ Rights

Transfer of medical information to both parents regarding their children

In general, both parents have rights to information regarding a child’s treatment, and giving consent, and the parent who is present is usually sufficient to make decisions and/or represent the other parent. However, there may be mitigating legal or other circumstances.  The Ministry of Health has published precise instructions about health service providers making information accessible to both parents, and when the consent of one or the other must be requested.

Medical Confidentiality

The obligation to maintain confidentiality regarding the treatment given to the patient is the foundation upon which the patient’s trust in the doctor is based. Both the Privacy Protection Law and the Patient’s Rights Law require guarding medical information. These laws are applicable for anyone treating a patient and not solely for doctors. The importance for these rules is clear; for example, the damage that might be done to an individual in certain communities if knowledge of her having an abortion was publicly known or if the facts of a businessman’s illness were known to his associates.

Transfer of Information

The Patient’s Rights Law distinctly establishes the obligation for medical confidentiality and only permits transfer of information to a third party in the follow circumstances:

  • The information is given to a different caregiver for continuation of treatment.
  • Research purposes (in accordance with Helsinki regulations).
  • In accordance with different regulatory requirements (i.e. transfer of information to the Ministry of the Interior for purposes of issuing a firearm license; transfer of information to the National Cancer Registry; notification of infectious diseases, etc.).
  • When the patient has agreed to waive the privilege by signing a “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)”.

More Information

For more information, check out our page on Waiving Medical Confidentiality, as well as some related pages we have translated as part of our collaboration with Kol-Zchut: