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How to Care for a Cancer Patient at Home

Updated on January 7, 2013
A Palliative Care Specialist Taking Care of a Cancer Patient at home
A Palliative Care Specialist Taking Care of a Cancer Patient at home | Source

During cancer illnesses, there comes a time when then medical team handling a patient determines that the cancer has reached a stage where it can no longer be controlled. At this stage, the patient will often be released form the health center and receive care at home. These are usually the latter terminal stages of cancer where medical specialists come to the conclusion that further treatment will not be of help top the patient. How to care for a cancer patient at home becomes important to the people handling the patient. Most people whose loved ones require home based care will have no experience or expertise to care for a cancer patient at home. However, there is no need to worry about it. The most important thing is to focus on enabling the patient lives a quality life especially since they might be at pain and are definitely suffering psychologically.

Caring For a Cancer Patient Advance Effects at home

At these latter stages the patient might be receiving pain killers to alleviate pain and control adverse effects of the cancer such as nausea, breathing difficulties and restlessness. The major point to remember when delivering home care for cancer patients is to make them as comfortable as they would like. Focus on improving their quality of life. At this stage most patients would like to have someone who shares with them about their lives, their spirituality and their achievements. This brings a sense of satisfaction in them concerning their lives. Relatives and friends should take this opportunity to keep vising their loved one so that they never feel lonely at any one time. Each person has their own needs at this particular time so listen to them keenly and try granting their wishes.

Dealing With Stress and Depression

Terminally ill people tend to suffer from stress and depression. This is caused by lack of adequate communication. If due to life commitments that you are unable to care for a cancer patient at home, then a hospice would be best for them. These offer coordinated care to the patients. In here patients also get to interact with each other. Research has shown that the more terminally ill people talk about their lives and the condition they are in and the options they face, then the level of stress decreases significantly. This makes their body more able to cope with the illness.

Anxiety and Fear on the Caregivers

Anxiety and fear are common problems faced by both patients and home based care givers. In caring of for a cancer patient at home, it would be wrong on the part of the care giver to outwardly show signs of worry, fear or anxiety. Though these are normal feelings it would this makes the patient feel sicker. It is better to cheer up despite the situation.

Instructions on Caring For a Cancer Patient

Palliative Home Care

Home care for cancer patients may be overwhelming to the family of the patient. There are some palliative care experts that help with home care. These may be called upon at any time. The only thing is that the patient should be comfortable with them. The family doctor can recommend a palliative caregiver to provide nursing care for the cancer patient at home. These will be able to identify onset of new symptoms and new infections and provide necessary medical attention. They will also be in a position to call in a doctor.

Dealing With Patients Worries

Terminally ill cancer patients often have two major worries. These are being a burden to the family and also fear of the unknown. The home based care givers should always keep reminding the patient that they are not a burden both by actions and words. Keeping the patient company is the single most important concern that one can show.

I hope this article has provided you with insights with how to care for a cancer patient at home.


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    • bonface profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Its pretty hard. I have had to care for a relative and that motivated me to write about it.

    • Saloca profile image

      Sarah Campbell 

      8 years ago from Liverpool, UK

      Informative and touching article, I can only imagine how hard it must be for families caring for loved ones at home


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