Transplant: Impact on family finances

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Learn what you can do to try and minimize the impact of your child's chronic health issues on your family finances.

Key points

  • A child's long-term illness and treatment creates can have a major impact on a family's finances.
  • Obvious expenses include treatment and related costs such as transport and accommodation. Less obvious expenses are 'hidden costs' such as lost earnings from taking unpaid time off or rejection of promotions.
  • To help manage expenses, store all receipts for when you file your taxes and ask the transplant team's social worker about any government funding programs.

Chronic health problems can be expensive, even if some costs are covered by government health insurance programs. As a parent, you still have to cover many expenses, including:

  • the cost of medicines that are not covered by drug plans
  • deductibles for the drug plan
  • public transit fares or gas and parking costs for hospital visits
  • meals during clinic appointments
  • accommodation near the hospital

Many other expenses are not obvious but are very real. They include “hidden costs” such as:

  • lost earnings from taking unpaid time off work to care for a sick child or take them to medical appointments
  • job promotions (and pay raises) that must be turned down because they require longer hours or frequent trips out of town
  • difficulty finding a job in the area in which you are qualified because the employer cannot let you take time off work whenever you need it.

How you can respond

Here are some suggestions for dealing with some of the financial burdens.

  • Keep every receipt and store them in one place for when you file your taxes. It is easier to throw things out after you have talked to the person who helps you with your taxes than to try to find small slips of paper all around your house or apartment when it is tax time.
  • Speak with your child’s social worker for other ideas on how to minimize the financial effect of a transplant on your family. Social workers are aware of funding through various programs and could help you figure out if you qualify.

Ideas from other parents

Bring your own lunches to the hospital when you’re going frequently. One parent said:

“We buy a cold drink each time, but we only actually buy lunch when we don’t have to go very often because the cost of meals out really adds up.”

Negotiate working hours with your employer. One parent said:

“I am lucky my employer lets me work a few extra hours each week when my daughter is doing well. I get to bank these hours so that I still get paid when I need time off.”

Co-ordinate medical appointments if more than one child is sick. As one parent said:

“We have two children with health issues, and we try to co-ordinate their medical appointments as much as possible so it means less time off work and fewer trips to the hospital.”

Further information

For more information on the impact of an organ transplant, please see the following pages.

Impact of a transplant on your child

Impact of a transplant on siblings

Impact of a transplant on parents and caregivers

Getting support from your network

Last updated: November 7th 2016