Homecare for cancer patients and others facing serious illness has many advantages over institutional care. A patient benefits from being in familiar surroundings and maintains privacy and independence. However, providing quality homecare can be challenging. A care giving plan considers the requirements of a patient’s care and identifies potential challenges and solutions.
To develop a caregiver plan, first identify the members of the patient’s caregiving team. This may include family members, close friends, home health care workers, and others in the community such as the patient’s minister. Discuss the anticipated level of assistance required by the patient. It may be helpful to involve the patient’s treatment team for this step, if the patient will allow her case to be discussed.
Consider the patient’s physical needs and limitations, mental health issues, and ability to perform everyday activities. Identify the level of assistance the patient will need and potential resources. Assess the home for any safety hazards and limitations the patient may face. Renovations of the home may be required, such as installing wheelchair ramps, replacing tubs with walk-in showers, and installing a first floor bathroom so the patient does not need to navigate stairs.
Assess the patient’s financial situation. Is the patient capable of managing her own financial affairs, or is assistance required? Is the patient eligible for public assistance such as disability or Medicaid? Make sure that a trusted friend, family member, or professional such as a family attorney knows where important documents such as deeds are stored.
Talk to the patient about what daily activities she truly values, and which are obligations she may be happy to give up. Identify ways for her to continue to participate in the things that bring her joy, such as a member of her church congregation who can take her to services.
Developing a caregiving plan can be overwhelming. For additional resources, check out our website at helpforcancercaregivers.org.