How to help cancer patients cope?
After an initial diagnosis of cancer, the patient must continually face months or years of challenges related to the diagnosis. Challenges are not only emotional and physical; they can be financial, sexual, spiritual, or even related to understanding technical terms. Having family and friends available for support has a positive effect on how patients adjust to their diagnosis and treatment. Again here the consent of the patient is very important for whether he/she wants help or not. In some cases the patient feels bad if people show immense care and support making them feel weaker. But if the patient wants you to care for him/her then certainly steps given below can be followed.
1 keep a track of all the friends the patient wants to talk to. Make sure that the patient gets continuous emails and phone calls from their friends. Keep informing them about the patient’s status and their recovery.
2 Run errands for the patient. Have the patient make a list of places you need to go. Help him/her keep track of what needs to be done; mental fogginess can be a side effect of chemotherapy.
3 Take the patient to the appointments along with you. For chemo treatments, take books and magazines for you both to help pass the time. For doctor appointments, take a pad of paper and a pen to write down what the doctor says for the patient. Go over the information with him/her when he/she feels up to it to ensure he understands everything the doctor said. The National Cancer Institute indicates that good communication between patients and doctors often helps the patient feel more in control. This feeling lessens the patient’s anxiety.
4 Cook a week’s worth of freezable meals and deliver them to her. Follow any nutritional guidelines set by the patient’s physician and take into account whether the smell of any particular foods brings on nausea in the patient.
5 Arrange for the patient’s housework and yard maintenance. Enlist a crew of friends to take turns performing the tasks.
6 Watch for signs of depression that occur frequently and don’t go away. Signs include feeling sad most days, loss of interest in activities he used to enjoy, feelings of guilt and changes in sleeping habits. Some symptoms can be attributed to treatment, but that’s for a doctor to determine. Talk to the patient about how he’s feeling and explain why you believe he needs to see her doctor. Go with him to the appointment.