Help for the Caregiver
Family meetings are most helpful when:
- There is a clear list of what is going to be discussed.
- A member of the health care teams acts as the meeting leader.
- Family members and caregivers are given the chance to ask questions and discuss concerns.
- Family members and caregivers are free to talk about painful emotions and receive the help of trained professionals who care about them.
At the end of the meeting, the health care team may go over what was decided and plan the next steps.
Home Care Help
Home care services for the cancer patient also give the caregiver support. State or local health departments usually have a list of licensed home care agencies. Some of the services that home care agencies provide include the following:
- Visits from nurses, aides, therapists, and social workers.
- Help with running errands, making meals, and bathing.
- Delivery of medicine.
- Use of medical equipment.
Hospice Care for the Cancer Patient
Hospice care is given to patients who are near the end of life and are no longer being treated to cure or control their cancer. The goal of hospice is to help patients live each day to the fullest by making them comfortable and relieving their symptoms. Family caregivers may need more training and advice to feel comfortable doing what's needed to care for the patient during the final stages of cancer. The family caregiver often feels as much emotional distress as the patient does during this time. A hospice care team helps with the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients, caregivers, and families.