Because of technological innovations and medical breakthroughs, hospital stays for cancer patients are becoming shorter and outpatient treatments are becoming more preferable.
If their condition allows it, most cancer patients would prefer to be cared for at home. More than the comfort of being in familiar surroundings, it provides a sense of independence and control, which patients value more after being diagnosed with cancer. As a result, family members are becoming more instrumental to the overall care of a cancer patient.
If you’re about to take care of a family member with cancer at home, here are tips to help you get started.
1. Learn about the condition of your loved one.
Be familiar with the cancer case of your loved one. Know what type it is and what stage it is in. Talk with the doctor and discuss treatments, medication, diet restrictions, what to do during emergency situations, and when to schedule appointments. You can also ask for additional resources you can tap, so you can fully grasp what the disease is about.
Knowing all of these will help you schedule tasks, plan meals, and plot activities for your loved one.
2. Know the level of care needed.
Determine the extent of care that your loved one needs and what you are able to provide. Does the patient need help with activities like bathing, getting dressed, or transferring? Do you have to administer medication? Does your loved one need therapies and other treatments that require professional care?
3. Get to know the members of the care team.
Care for a cancer patient comes from different people, including the family and other medical professionals. Depending on your loved one’s condition, care services from therapists, nurses, and volunteers may be required.
4. Create a to-do list.
Caregiving involves a lot of tasks, and having a list keeps you on top of those things. It keeps you organized and prevents any oversights that can implicate your loved one’s condition. If you think there’s a lot on your plate, don’t hesitate to ask help from other members of the family or seek assistance from professional care services.
5. Encourage involvement from the patient.
Your loved one should always be involved in decision-making.
Patients are at the receiving end of care, so ultimately, it’s what they have to say that will matter most. Being diagnosed with cancer can disrupt a person’s sense of control over life, and involving them in care-related discussions remind them that they can still make their own choices.
Likewise, plan activities that call for a patient’s participation. Examples of fun activities that your loved one may enjoy are gardening, reading books, strolling at the park, and family cookouts.
6. Offer emotional support.
Battling cancer is tough, and patients need all the encouragement they can get.
Let your loved know that you’ll be there no matter what. Communicate well, listen intently, and offer encouraging words to uplift the patient’s mood and feelings.
7. Take care of yourself.
Caregiving is hard, but it shouldn’t tie you down to the point that your health gets compromised. You can only provide proper care for your loved one if you are in great shape.
Find some time to relax, exercise, or do recreational activities. Maintain your health through eating a balanced diet and getting enough hours of sleep. If there’s too much left to do, ask someone to fill in for you. It can be another family member or a professional care provider.
The fight against cancer is not just a battle between the disease and the patient. It involves the family too. Make sure to follow seven tips discussed, so that you and your loved one can live a good quality of life despite the disease.