If you or a loved one is living with colon cancer or in recovery from treatment, you know how difficult it can be. It can also make a drastic difference in the patient’s recovery.
Their involvement can vary, depending on many factors. Mostly, it will depend on the stage of colon cancer, the patient’s age and health and what they need. The caregiver will come in many forms, as well.
Support From Family
One of the best ways a caregiver can help their patient is giving them emotional support. Being diagnosed with cancer is a frightening notion and many of us have no idea what to do.
It’s important for all family members to provide emotional support, if available. Often, just someone to listen to them talk about what they are going through can ease a lot of fears.
It can be a lot of work, but family should be involved in helping the patient make decisions, accompany them to doctor appointments and to ask how they are getting on.
The day-to-day little things will go a lot smoother with emotional support. They don’t want to feel alone and it helps to have someone there to hear what the doctors have said, just to make sure it was all understood.
For those patients who need a lot more care than just a ride to the doctor or an ear to chew, you will likely need professional care. Advance stage cancer will require a lot more than most of us are capable of, nor should we be.
Depending on your situation, you will likely require a caregiver to come into the home. They know all about what needs to be done and are highly trained to take care of your loved one.
They can administer medications, change dressings, check surgery sites, give them baths, help with physical therapy and so much more. It is too much of a burden to take on as a family member.
The truth is, many patients will be more comfortable with a professional. While you provide the emotional support they need, the professionals will take care of the rest.
Patients can feel like they are asking too much from you, and often, don’t want you to be the one caring for them. They are feeling vulnerable and dependant and that shouldn’ come down to you.
If your patient requires more medical care than you can provide, you may need to consider a care facility. Long or short term facilities are designed especially for these situations.
This will depend on how advanced the cancer is, if you are looking at end of life care and if your insurance or budget will allow this type of care. They will receive all the care they need and it takes the burden off of you.
Doctors, nurses, therapists and also people who are also going through the same things can be a great comfort for the patient. They don’t feel like they are depending on you and cause you to miss out on anything.
Being in a care facility with like-minded people who have had the same experiences can be very liberating for people, in particular, for people who are having trouble coping with the cancer, the treatment and the prognoses.
Care For Life
The caregiver, whether it is a family member or a community nurse, plays a vital part in the patient’s recovery and overall disposition. No one wants to be in this situation, but it doesn’t stop it from happening.
Support through all the stages of colon cancer are important. Even getting someone to the doctor to get screened can be difficult for some people. But, they won’t cope if you don’t.
Stay positive but be honest. It is a difficult situation for everyone involved, but the patient most. They will be scared and have a lot of questions. Encourage them to seek the best treatment that is recommended by their medical professional and stay with them through all of it.
Cope The Best You Can
It will be a big adjustment for everyone in their life, and a rapid one. As a caregiver in the family, it is fine for you to be angry, stressed, frustrated and scared.
But don’t blame the patient. Avoid the ‘I told you so’ routine, as that will not help anyone. People heal faster if they are not stressed and worried. Even if you have a professional caregiver, you can still play a huge part in their recovery.
Make them healthy meals, let them vent and express themselves. Do nice things that will cheer them up and just be there when they need it. It is a difficult time for everyone. Just be there in whatever capacity you can to make them as happy and comfortable as possible.