In-Home Care for a Loved One with Cancer – Key Considerations & Planning

In-Home Care for a Loved One with Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, over 1.9 million Americans were diagnosed with new cancer cases in 2021. Studies show that 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 3 men are projected to develop some form of cancer in their lifetimes. These statistics are sobering and make it evident that most, if not all families living in the United States today, will have their own or a loved one’s lives directly affected by cancer. 

Cancer is defined as a disease caused by the development and growth of abnormal cells in a person’s body. Unless diagnosed early or treated in a timely manner, the spread of cancerous cells can be fatal. When people are fortunate to have cancer diagnosed early, many can live a long and healthy life post-treatment. Some, cancer free and others who must manage their cancer with medication, treatment, and constant monitoring. There are almost 18 million cancer patients and survivors in the US in 2022 and most were diagnosed several years ago. 

The type of cancer and stage of cancer when diagnosed play a huge role in determining you or your loved one’s subsequent plans for treatment, quality of life, and care decisions. 

The following tables identify the different types of common cancers affecting Americans today.

5 Main Types of Cancer Carcinoma Sarcoma Melanoma Lymphoma Leukemia
  Most common type of cancer. Affects organs and glands. Ex. breast cancer, (non melanoma) skin cancer, lung cancer, etc. Rare type of cancer that develops in bones or soft connective tissues like fat, muscles, blood vessels, etc. Extremely serious skin cancer that forms in the cells that pigment the skin. Cancer that affects the white blood cells and begins in the lymph system. Most common types are Hodgkin Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer that affects the body’s blood-forming cells and causes an excess amount of white blood cells to form in the body.

Note: Data and statistics based on National Cancer Institute Research and Findings  

Stage of cancer is determined by the spread of cancerous cells in a person’s body when they are diagnosed. Determining the stage of cancer is necessary to help figure out next steps in terms of treatment, care plan, and the patient’s prognosis.  Medical professionals use 3 primary factors to determine the stages of cancer – the size of the tumor, spread to lymph nodes, and whether the cancer has metastasized to different parts of the body. The following infographic details the 4 common stages of cancer. Please note that this is a generalized list of common symptoms and treatments. Diagnoses, treatments and symptoms vary by cancer and are highly individualized. 

In-home care for those living with cancer depends on many variables – from the type of cancer to the stage of cancer – no 2 scenarios are the same. Additional factors include the availability of family caregivers or a local support network to assist the person with cancer on a daily or weekly basis. The information detailed above reflects the many benefits of having in-home care at every stage of the treatment process, if possible. Advanced stage cancer patients can live for many years (in some cases even 5-10 years) with treatment, care, and support.

 The best way to understand if in-home care is the optimal solution in your scenario is to review the responsibilities and care required by most individuals living with cancer.

Caregiving falls into 3 primary categories – personal care, medical care, and emotional support
Personal Care:
  • Daily help with toileting, bathing, and dressing
  • Preparing diet-specific healthy meals, and grocery shopping
  • Light housekeeping and overseeing household chores
  • Supervising medication intake with attention to dosage and times
  • Managing and documenting existing, new, or worsening symptoms
Medical Care:
  • Overseeing medical appointments
  • Transportation to and from any treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, as well as medical appointments for blood work, screening, and doctor’s visits
  • Organizing non-emergency medical transportation, and the usage of a wheelchair if needed for any appointments
  • Liaising between the healthcare team, the person with cancer, and their family with any new treatment plans, updates to their health, medications, or symptoms
  • Advocating for the patient during medical visits
  • Assisting with insurance claims, filings, and coverage
  • Filling Rxs (i.e. prescriptions) and ensuring timely reminders for medication adherence (including transporting for chemo sessions)
Emotional Care (highly personalized and specific):
  • Providing daily companionship
  • Listening with empathy and support 
  • Encouragement in dealing with a difficult and debilitating condition
  • Keeping friends, family members informed about treatments, prognosis, emotional well-being

Most people undergoing treatment for cancer typically live at home and can access their medical appointments, medication, care, and minor treatments (e.g. wound care via trained in-home care professionals. This reduces their exposure to germs in their immunocompromised state with non-essential hospital visits and allows them to continue treatment and care from the comfort and safety of their home. It also allows for more emotional support like friends and family members who can visit or provide meals and help with ease. 

It is also important to remember that people undergoing cancer treatment, like any person requiring in-home care, still need to maintain their sense of dignity and independence. There might be days when they feel better and do not require as much with daily tasks, and other days where they are overcome with fatigue and need their caregiver to tactfully explain to a family member why they should not come to visit. The common factor is an experienced, and available in-home caregiver who is available to provide 24/7 care support during this challenging time. 
At Care Mountain, we have over a decade of experience providing in-home care and support for you or your loved ones. Our thorough and extensive hiring process ensures that we work with experienced caregivers who understand the multiple factors and details that caring for cancer patients can require and have significant experience doing so. Our experience also helps us provide a nuanced and personalized level of care throughout Dallas and Ft. Worth areas. Although people usually associate in-home care with seniors with Alzheimer’s, Dementia or a rehab recovery, the personal, medical, and emotional care required by people undergoing cancer treatment is incredibly important, multi-faceted and time-consuming. It’s a full-time requirement that most family members cannot provide on a part-time basis. 
Care Mountain’s extensive network of in-home caregivers provide support across the Metroplex from Plano, Allen, McKinney, Preston Hollow, Dallas, Highland Park, Fort Worth, Southlake, to Arlington and many more. Contact us today to see how we can help provide support and 24/7 care to help you or your loved one navigate their journey of cancer care. 

2022-05-31 21:47:50

In-Home Care for a Loved One with Cancer – Key Considerations & Planning