There are so many misconceptions about home care. The more I talk to family caregivers, the more I hear people expressing how they wish they’d turned to home care sooner. People resist accepting outside help for a wide range of reasons, many of which are based on not being familiar with what home care really is.
One of our goals at The Caregiver Space is to help people make informed decisions. My experience with professional caregivers at home and in residential settings has been very positive — allowing my family to provide a higher quality of care than we could have done ourselves.
This is why I asked Hometeam to walk us through the benefits of home care to help family caregivers supporting someone undergoing cancer treatment better understand their options. – Cori
Two types of home care
Home care can fall into two categories: acute (short-term) or long-term care. The former is for physical rehabilitation from illness or injury, while the latter is for adapting to lifestyle changes that arise from diseases such as cancer. While some care options focus solely on the patient’s physical health, this article will define other ways cancer patients can benefit from working with home caregivers.
On the most basic level, home care is for those who need help with activities of daily living, or ADLs. Meeting a patient’s physical needs is a caregiver’s primary responsibility. This includes managing medication, as well as assisting with mobility, housekeeping, grooming, running errands, and even light physical therapy. A caregiver should also have a driver’s license to bring the patient to the hospital when necessary. While caregivers help with activities of daily living to maintain clients’ independence, they can also make changes within the home to promote long term self-sufficiency. Removing potential fall causes is one way to do this. A fall that results in a broken hip can be a death knell for cancer patients, who often don’t have the strength to recover from such a devastating injury while fighting a malignant disease.
Being diagnosed with cancer can take a major mental toll, especially during the treatment process. A benefit of home care, instead of say, a hospital or nursing home, is having the comfort of a familiar place and a friendly face. A caregiver can boost a client’s mood after a difficult day by providing physical support, conversation, or simply by being there to make life easier and more comfortable. Having a personal attendant can make a patient feel like an individual with a unique plan of care rather than just another sick person in a hospital bed. Greater comfort, control and security are major morale boosters for a cancer patient living at home with a caregiver.
Above all, it’s important for cancer patients to feel like they have led valuable, important lives, and to have a sense of belonging within their community. A caregiver can encourage clients to share life experiences and to feel valued and respected. Caregivers can even help sick patients care for a pet or a plant, something as simple as which can encourage and offer purpose to someone at the end of life. If adults both with and without cancer have a reason for living while being able to control their life story, it’s easier for them to come to terms with being sick and the life they’ve lived.
Choosing home care for cancer patients can have a number of benefits, from providing affordable health care to offering feelings of social belonging and self-actualization. As many patients find out, having their physical needs met is just the beginning of their fight against cancer. A home caregiver makes it easier to wage the battle.