Finding out a loved one has cancer and then being there for them is a big adjustment; one that can take a toll on you, regardless of how prepared you are. If you are a family member such as a parent or spouse, chances are you are the primary caregiver.
As hospital stays become shorter than they used to be, cancer patients today receive a large part of their care at home. More people are opting to be cared for at home as much as possible. This care is often given by family caregivers.
As a parent or a spouse, your role is to liaise with the doctor and undertake the healthcare formalities along with taking care of the in-house care. You play an important part in improving your loved one’s health and quality of life. Your role involves helping the patient with medicines, doctor visits, meals, and health insurance matters. It also includes giving emotional support and making hard decisions on their behalf.
You have one of the most important responsibilities of monitoring and observing changes in the patient’s medical condition while giving long-term care at home. It thus becomes imperative for you to get involved right at the beginning of the cancer care process. Your role evolves as per the needs of the cancer patient and that is something you may need to quickly adapt to.
This in no way implies that your own needs aren’t important, which is why it is important to take time for yourself and ask for help wherever necessary. How you respond to the cancer diagnosis and treatment is just as important; your feelings and emotions need to be taken into consideration. As a primary caregiver, you need to take out the time to deal with and process this change. Here are a few ways you could try to cope better, along the various stages of treatment.
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