Caregiver

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CaregiverBeing a caregiver for a loved one with cancer can be extremely difficult, both physically and emotionally. Many people give so generously and thoroughly of themselves that they neglect their own health and well-being. This can be become harmful for both the caregiver and the patient. The good news is, help for caregivers is available. High quality home health care providers are available throughout the country to help balance patient care and self-care.

The patient’s needs and the assistance required to provide quality patient care should be periodically assessed by the patient’s support and treatment team. When the patient’s needs are relatively minor, such as help with transportation and more physical household chores, often no additional help for caregivers is required. Also, if the patient has extensive but not medically complex needs but the support network is wide, the patient can often be supported without needing to hire outside help. However, often the patient’s loved ones cannot handle the nature or extent of the support required. In these cases, professional help can be invaluable.

Often loved ones are reluctant to “outsource” care to home health care providers. Reasons for this may include fears that professionals may not provide the same level of care as a family member, that the patient may feel that her independence or privacy is compromised, or that the expense will be unsustainable. The patient’s treatment team should be able to provide referrals to quality home health agencies with providers that are sensitive to the patient’s needs. Many insurance plans cover home health care, as supporting the patient in her home is usually less costly than institution based care.

Whatever your needs as a caregiver, support services are available both locally and online. Check out the helpforcancercaregivers.org website for additional tips and resources.