For many patients, being able to receive quality healthcare at home can improve quality of life and even patient outcomes. Patients who are able to remain in their own homes while receiving treatment are able to retain a sense of independence and maintain privacy. The healing process can be as mental as it is physical, and a patient spared the stress of an institutional setting may respond better to treatment. Often choosing healthcare at home can result in a spouse, child, sibling, or close friend becoming the primary caregiver. Providing help for cancer caregiver is essential, and it is important that the primary caregiver be ready to ask for and accept help.
If you are a friend or family member of a cancer patient or caregiver, there are many ways that you can help. Often a general offer of help, such as “let me know if you need anything,” is not accepted. An overwhelmed patient or caregiver often cannot prioritize or articulate his or her needs. More specific offers, such as offering to do errands every Saturday afternoon, or asking how often you can visit and for how long, are much more likely to be accepted. If your schedule is unpredictable or your time is limited, an offer to be an emergency contact can provide much needed peace of mind.
Before providing healthcare at home, it is often necessary to reconfigure the home to eliminate access barriers or safety hazards. Organizing a work party to perform minor renovations can reduce the expense and stress for the patient and her caregivers. Something as simple as moving furniture from an upstairs bedroom to downstairs dining or family room may be difficult for the patient, and can be accomplished in minutes by several friends.