Care giving for a cancer patient is not an easy task! As your loved one may go through their cancer journey, you may not know how to take care of them! You may want to work hard to make sure they are getting the highest possible quality of life. As it is not just an easy task, it will require you to take a significant amount of time, skills, and energy. For being the best caregiver for them, you should know all the details about the patient, including what medications they are taking, the time of taking drugs, whether they are prohibited from having something or not, and whether they are allowed to do specific tasks or not, etc. The first best step you can take here would be learning everything you can about the patient.
Caring for a patient is important because that plays a significant role in that patient’s recovery. At the same time, being a caregiver, you will face a new set of challenges, especially when it’s a role that you are not prepared for. It takes sufficient time and adjustment to change your lifestyle. Therefore you should come up with a care plan to take care of your loved ones! If someone you know or your loved one is going through their chemotherapy fighting journey, here are some points that you can keep in mind to do for them!
Create or Join Support Network
As per data based on a study, the number of new cancer cases between the year 2011 to 2015 is 439.2 per 100,000 men and women per year. Change in our lifestyle has a significant role in the increasing cancer patients’ toll. Realizing one has cancer and having to go through all the medical procedures may seem hard on patients. You can create or join a support network to help them realize they can beat their cancer. You can set up two kinds of a support group for them: One is to set up a network of their loved ones, including family members, friends, and colleagues who can help and give them more emotional support during their treatment period. The other is to let them join a group of cancer survivors so that they can understand that they are not alone in this journey, to let them know that there are some people are waiting for them to win this match, and knowing more positive patient stories to support and prepare them mentally.
As a caregiver, you can offer to take them home after treatment or ask for help from someone inside the support group. Some medications may make them feel drowsy and tired, or they may not feel good after taking certain drugs. So, it will be better to get someone always near them but not too much as they may feel like they have something serious issue.
Check With Their Oncologist About Medications
If they are taking any other medications or drugs such as vitamins and supplements, you have to let their oncologist know about this. If in case the medicines they are taking may interact with their chemotherapy drugs, the doctor has to adjust the medications to avoid certain complications. The follow-up care plan will help them track if cancer has come back or if the new drugs have any side effects, and monitor their overall health. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, they may go through several stages. As visiting their oncologist, it would be a good idea to ask for their written summary on treatment and follow-up care. Depending on their stage, some people may have check-ups every 3-6 months for the first few years after their treatment, then less frequently after that. Talk to their doctors about what to expect.
Ensure They Take Plenty of Water
Make sure they don’t get dehydrated. The fluid has many essential roles in a person’s life. For example, such as; it keeps our body temperature steady, carries nutrients and oxygen around our body, and removes excess toxins and waste, etc. On the day before their treatment, it really prepares their body for the dehydrating effects of treatment. On the day after their therapy, it helps to flush the harsh chemo meds out of their system. Health experts suggest consuming at least eight glasses of liquid a day, and if they have vomiting or diarrhea as a part of their meds side effects, they have to consume more water. If water doesn’t feel right for them, try milk, juice, or any other healthy drinks.
Pack Items That Make Them Comfortable
If they are in the hospital, to make them comfortable and busy, you can pack items that they love. Many treatment centers may allow them to bring their favorite foods and light snacks. To make them more comfortable, you can give them needlework, an e-reader, their favorite playlist, or whatever they like to do. As extra protective, you can also give them lip balm or skin moisturizer, because all the harsh medications and radiotherapy may change their skin texture. Furthermore, bring more comfortable clothing, comfy socks, blankets, and nausea combatants. Bring a safety blanket and pillow to their chemotherapy sections, as it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, and chances are they will be tired and might fall asleep.
Encourage Them to Ask Questions
Cancer survivor ship can be hard. Years ago, treatment options were limited, and people spoke in whispers about cancer. Today, technology and treatment options have advanced to back up more survival cases, and we are all educated about the illness in somewhat of our life. Yet, it is not a simple illness, and people don’t know how to accept it. So, it is entirely reasonable to expect them to be anxious about their health criteria. Chances are they would be searching it on Google, but Google cannot provide every information. They may get mixed information on certain things, and it shouldn’t have to be reliable. Pay attention to their concerns. If they have any doubts, do not ignore them. In this situation, your words and actions can be powerful. And your one word can lift their mood.
Avoid Risk of An Infection
All those harsh cancer medications and chemotherapy can weaken one’s immune system. And when one’s immune system is weakened, there is a high risk of infection. The immune system helps you to fight infection by germs, such as bacteria or viruses. Radiation helps to kill cancer cells, and it may lead to higher risks of infection. If they get a fever during their chemotherapy section, seek immediate medical emergency. Your oncologist and radiation therapist may help educate them on the risk of the infection they may have and what they can do to prevent it from happening. So, it will be better to avoid crowds right after your chemotherapy sections. Always keep sanitizer for them and let them clean their hands often.
Maintain a Healthy Diet And Body Weight
Going through cancer treatments is not a good time to go on a diet! Gaining or losing your weight is not your goal here! All these treatments and harsh medications may cause you to lose your appetite. But to win your journey, you should maintain a healthy diet and body weight. A dietician can help you here to choose your diet, which includes all the essential minerals, nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Is your mouth dry? Drink plenty of fluids. Does your food taste different? You can use plastic utensils for metallic tastes. Have difficulty when chewing? Choose more soft foods and consume more drinks. You can ask their therapist if they have to keep any special healthy diet.