6 Tips For Caring for Cancer Patients at Home
When cancer strikes it can be a powerful blow to both the cancer patient and their family. No one ever sees cancer coming. But with over 4,600 Americans being diagnosed with cancer each day, according to the National Cancer Institute, one is surely not alone with this serious health struggle. The good news is that the cancer mortality rates have been steadily dropping for the last 25 years, a sign the more innovative, targeted and customized therapies are making a positive difference.
With a new cancer diagnosis, suddenly, there is a whole new vocabulary to learn, treatments to discern, and a significant shift in priorities. As the treatment period progresses, it is helpful for both the patient and their loved ones to have some ideas about how to manage care during this challenging chapter of life. Having some idea of what’s involved with the caring for cancer patients at home can help relieve some of the anxiety related.
Tips for Caring for Cancer Patients at Home
Because caring for cancer patients at home can seem a daunting task, it is important to have a good grasp of helpful tips accessible to the caregiving team. Family and friends can help to ease some of the difficulties associated with a cancer battle by utilizing the following tips:
- Create a team. Caring for a loved one with cancer is a team effort, so enlisting the help of family members, friends, neighbors, and caregivers is essential to maintaining balance and avoiding burnout. Sit down with the family and have a meeting where the illness is discussed, the needs of the patient are defined (as much as is possible—cancer tends to be an unpredictable foe), and get commitments from each other for participating in caregiving duties.
- Create a caregiving schedule. In addition the services that a private home nurses are providing in the caring of your loved one, there are countless other chores and errands that will need attention. As a team, dole out the various tasks and create a weekly schedule so everyone will know their role in helping. These tasks can be simple housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, picking up medication at the pharmacy, paying bills, walking the dog, taking the trashcans out, etc.
- Listen to the patient. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to just allow your loved one to talk openly with you about their concerns, fears, emotions, and requests regarding their cancer battle. Just being an active listener can provide solace, allowing them to share things that no one wants, or knows how, to talk about.
- Being prepared for doctor appointments. Cancer is a complex and vexing disease, and the treatments are complex as well. Having a friend or family member along provides a second set of ears, possibly picking up important comments by the doctor that the patient may have missed. If you or the patient has specific questions to ask the doctor, write them down beforehand so you don’t leave the appointment without answers.
- Organize visitors. Your loved one will want to remain engaged with friends and family throughout the treatment period, although there will be some days that are better for visitors than others. The few days following a chemo treatment are usually not conducive to having visitors, with extreme fatigue, nausea, or other side effects. For the good days, make a schedule for visitors so the patient is not overwhelmed or exhausted by too much activity in a given day.
- Remaining active. While cancer treatment can sap all the energy from a person, there is still a need to remain mobile as much as is reasonable. Accompany your loved one on a short morning stroll if they are up to it. If not, help them perform the exercises prescribed by the physical therapist or doctor. Gently remind them of the importance of the exercises and then demonstrate the movement to assist them.
Kinkaid Private Care Coordinates Caring for Cancer Patients at Home
Kinkaid Private Care coordinates private nursing services by compassionate nurses trained in oncology and cancer home care. These specialized nurses can provide essential medical care, in home lab work, help with exercise and nutrition, IV Vitamin Therapy Infusion, and offer holistic services to further elevate healing and overall well-being. For more information about how caring for cancer patients at home can be enhanced with a private oncology nurse, please contact Kinkaid Private Care at (877) 388-6373.