Cancer treatment and recovery can take a toll on families as it forces them to deal with new issues. While many consider home care as strictly a service for the elderly, in-home caregivers can provide a great deal of assistance to individuals recovering from chronic diseases as well. At-home cancer recovery can make patients feel more comfortable and help them heal better after surgery or treatments. If you or a loved one is recovering from cancer, the information below can give you insight into the symptoms and how to manage your recovery at home.
What to Expect:
A cancer diagnosis can leave a patient with hundreds of questions about symptoms, treatments, and what the future has in store. Depending on the type of cancer a patient is diagnosed with and what stage he or she happens to be in, there are a number of different treatments that the physician may prescribe. However, most cancer patients can expect:
- Surgery to remove a tumor or other cancerous tissue
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatments to shrink any existing cancer cells
- Immunotherapy to help boost the immune system to fight off cancer and other illnesses
Because cancer treatments take such a toll on the body’s immune system, it is important to avoid contact with individuals who may be sick or contagious. Also, many of the treatments the doctor may prescribe can make the patient feel nauseous or fatigued. It’s important for the cancer patient to eat foods that are nutritious, yet won’t upset the stomach, and get plenty of rest.
Home Care for Cancer Recovery:
When cancer patients are released from the hospital to recover at home, they often find that, due to treatments or surgeries, they may be too tired to take care of many of the activities of daily living on their own. Family caregivers may also need assistance in the daily care of a family member with cancer. Home care agencies, like Aunt Ann’s Home Care in San Francisco, can offer cancer patients and their families a number of helpful services to aid them in maintaining a comfortable recovery at home, including:
Our qualified, professional caregivers can provide hourly or live-in care for clients with cancer. Additionally, Aunt Ann’s certified home health aides and certified nurse’s aides can provide services such as:
- Personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming assistance)
- Dietitians to create meal plans and monitor nutrition
- Housekeeping, shopping, errands, transportation and other assistance with daily living
- Registered nurses (evaluate medications and their effects and manage complications)
Talking to the Doctor:
When being treated for cancer, the patient may see more than one doctor, but it is important to discuss treatment openly with at least one of them to ensure understanding of the condition and treatment. Some questions to ask may include:
1. What is my diagnosis? While this seems like something that will obviously be covered by the doctor, a diagnosis covers many areas.
- How serious is my type of cancer?
- How sick can I expect to get?
- What is the recovery rate for my diagnosis?
2. What medications are best? Talk to the doctor about which medications will work best given your prognosis. Questions to ask:
- What side effects can I expect from these medications?
- What symptoms will these medications treat?
- Are there any complementary therapies that may help?
- What are the benefits/risks of these treatments?
3. How will the treatments effect my body?
- What are potential side effects?
The cancer patient will also want to talk with his or her doctor about any side effects experienced during treatment or if any new symptoms are experienced to assist in adjusting the medication plan.
Services to Consider:
Managing cancer can be challenging, but being able to remain in the secure, familiar surroundings of home can help. Home care services can allow the cancer patient to remain at home while receiving treatments and recovering from cancer.
At Aunt Ann’s Home Care, we provide a wide variety of in-home care services to help our clients maintain a high quality of life in the home as they age. Through our experience in caring for clients with cancer, we have found that the following services are ones to consider:
- Personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming)
- Housekeeping, transportation to and from treatments, etc.
- Meal planning and preparation
- Respite care to relieve family caregivers
At Aunt Ann’s Home Care in San Francisco, we can tailor a specific plan of in-home care to meet each client’s individual needs.
If you would like more information about cancer recovery or home care services to aid in cancer recovery, we have compiled a few downloadable resource sheets and website resources that we hope will help you in your education and management of this disease.
Downloadable Tools and Tips:
Click the links to view or right click to print or save to your computer.
- Chemotherapy Questions
- Getting Help With Your Caregiving Responsibilities
- How to Help Someone Diagnosed With Cancer
Web Resources for Cancer Caregivers:
Click the links below to access resource Web sites to find out more about Cancer Care.
Downloadable booklet from CancerCare provides support as well as practical ways for the caregiver to help the patient, take care of themselves and cope with the situation.
A fact sheet courtesy of the National Cancer Institute offers valuable information about the various services provided by home care agencies and financial assistance available from government, public and private agencies.
About.com offers advice for how to recognize and prevent burnout in caregivers of cancer patients.
Because hospice care can be a confusing and difficult journey, Hospicenet.org provides the answers to frequently asked questions about hospice services.
When it comes to cancer, there are many things about hospice care that sets it apart from other types of health care. The American Cancer Society provides useful information about what hospice is and how it can help.
Care for life begins with information. At Aunt Ann’s Home Care we believe that education and understanding pave the way for quality care. To learn more about any of the subjects listed on our site, or to ask a specific related care question, call us at 415.974.3530 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 415.974.3530 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 650.757.2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 650.757.2000 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or contact us. Our team will be happy to educate you or your loved one on a variety of care-related subjects as well as provide a FREE home consultation to discuss our services and your or your loved one’s needs.