Halifax Travelers Story
Tammy Bennett was worried when her doctor informed her that her youngest daughter, Skyla Bennett, had developed a tumor in her brain. She knew she had to spend a lot of time in the IWK Hospital in Halifax. Tammy was scared for several things especially about how she would pay for the bills. She was also scared that she might lose her home and how she would take care of all her family without income.
The tumor was located deep in the hippocampus of Skyla’s brain, a region of the brain that controls the memory. Due to the location of the tumor, doctors could not perform a biopsy or a surgery due to the risk associated with it.
Thankfully, Skyla was indigenous and as a result, Bennett got enormous help from the Membertou band council for accommodations and travel. The support from the Membertou was intended to cover the entire trip. Bennett expressed her appreciation to the Membertou stating that the situation would have been hopeless without them.
Some medical appointments and treatments cannot be done in the patient’s home. The Department of Health and Wellness, MSI, handles such appointments. This includes up to $1,000 for round trip travel for patients and another $1,000 for round trip travel for an approved escort. It also includes up to $125 each day for accommodation with a maximum of $1,500 per month. For a patient to request this financial support, he/she needs to be referred by a Nova Scotia specialist and an MSI medical consultant needs to pre-approve the patient.
The Bennetts spent $100-150 for transportation, $75 for food per day, $15 for tolls and parking per day, and $125 for accommodation per night. Each trip attracts these expenditures. Bennett and her daughter were required to embark on the trip every two weeks and stay up to a week for treatment when Skyla was first diagnosed. But the travel frequency has dropped to once or twice a year.
Irrespective of the support from Membertou, Bennett lost income because she had to close her at-home daycare or hire someone else. In their last trip to Halifax, she lost up to $800. Even though the Membertou’s help was relieving travel cost weighed greatly on the Bennetts.
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