A caregiver should be willing to give his/her heart and soul for the patient’s well-being, especially if it’s a cancer patient. As a caretaker, you can help in the recovery of the patient,and your role will change at different stages of the treatment.
Cancer can affect an individual in various forms such as breast, colon, prostrate, pancreatic and more. So, it is important to have the knowledge of the stage at which cancer has been detected. It’s overwhelming for the patient fighting the disease, as well as the caretaker to go through the treatment process. Remember, the patient is not going through physical oremotional turmoil, but also social effects of the disease. Knowing the challenges helpsovercome them, without making the patient feel much dependent. If you are positive and encouraging, then it will have a similar impact on the patient dealing with the crises.
A cancer patient will have a new found meaning in life – the ‘new normal’. As the patient’spriorities change, the caretaker will have to support the transition – be it finances, jobs, family and friendships. A caretaker may have to take charge of the medical reports, and tests to be undertaken from time-to-time, besides reporting to the doctor or family members on the side-effects or concerns during the course of the treatment. Keep notes from doctor’s visits and take help of the support groups. One should constantly look for information that could help in dealing with the patient. You may be required to fix appointments, handle medical paper work, manage insurance issues, and arrange transportation as well.
You have to track the physical changes that the patient would complain during the treatment process. There are more chances of catching infections during the treatment, so make sure that the patient is taking the extra medicines prescribed for this period. Some cancers,such as ovarian,have a tendency of recurrence and remission. For such a patient, it might mean survival for many years during which the cancer will be treated as a chronic illness.
You should be aware of palliative care,which means improving the quality of life for the patient before, during or after the treatment. It is focused on giving relief to physical and emotional symptoms related to illness. The physical indications will be nausea, pain, tiredness, or shortness of breath, while emotional symptoms include stress and depression. With palliative care, the patient may experience reduced symptoms, better communication along with psychological and spiritual care.
Lend ears to their feelings and share as much they would want to without interruption. You will be expected to deal with their behavioural issues as well. Don’t press for things that the patient is not interested in and give him/her space, when required.You have to make sure that the patient resumes activities prior to diagnosis that gave him joy. Being involved with the patient can also take a toll on the caregiver. Hence, it is important to not lose sight of your own health and ensure that you are physically and emotionally fit. Since your well-being is as important as the patient’s, don’t ignore any health symptoms bothering you. Besides, take care of your diet and get proper sleep. A caretaker profession is definitely not an easy one and not everyone can do justice to it. But, if you are one of them, then you are in a noble profession which could bring satisfaction and a sense of achievement at end of the day.