Except for specific procedures that require a hospital stay, many cancer patients prefer to live at home while they are being treated. This is understandable, as the comforts of home can help a patient adapt to the other changes in their lives as a result of cancer treatment. However, it can require some adjustments.


The choice to live at home can require accommodations to account for the patient’s condition and modification of their regular schedule. Many patients will also need home help – someone who can be present to assist the patient and to take over some basic household chores such as cooking meals, shopping, cleaning, or doing laundry. Home help can also include coordinating and managing the patient’s schedule and environment. 


While family members may be able to undertake this caregiver role, there are also home help services that specialize in caring for those with medical needs. Sometimes, the best option is a combination of both family and professional care. Beacon Clinic offers a range of services for cancer patients, including referrals for home health services and supportive services including help for family or friends who take on the role of caregiver.


Home Help for Cancer Patients


  1. Get Nutritional Advice 


Undertaking basic household tasks like meal preparation can be highly taxing on someone who is undergoing cancer therapy. Fatigue, weakness, and nausea can also depress the patient’s appetite. This combination of factors often means the patient will not have the energy or interest to maintain a healthy diet. However, eating sufficient food and getting enough key nutrients is essential for optimal outcomes. Eating the right foods is especially important when a patient eats less, so patients and their home caregivers should work with a nutritionist. At Beacon Clinic, our supportive services for cancer patients include nutritional counseling.


A nutritionist specializing in cancer care will consider the patient’s specific needs. For example, if the patient is undergoing chemotherapy, the nutritionist will know which foods can trigger chemotherapy side effects like nausea and caution the patient to avoid them. A nutritionist can also recommend tasty meals that help strengthen the immune system and stimulate the body’s healing processes.


  1. Optimize the Sleep Environment 


Sleep is one of the cornerstones of a good recovery program for any ailment, and especially so for cancer, when getting good sleep despite discomfort or pain is difficult. One way to help is by optimizing the patient’s sleep environment. Generally, people sleep best in a dark, cool, quiet room. If the patient usually shares a bed with a partner, they will need to discuss whether this is still the most comfortable solution. 


A mattress change might also be needed, especially if the patient often feels achy at night, and an adjustable bed may also help. In addition to optimizing the room and bed, home caregivers can improve the sleep environment by always ensuring the sheets are clean, the pillows are fluffed, and the bed is always prepared when the patient is ready for sleep or a nap.


  1. Embrace Technology 


Technological solutions like personal alarms could be a great way for patients to stay connected with emergency services and with caregivers, even within the house. These devices can be worn around the neck or on the wrist, and they allow patients to call for help if they fall, can’t get out of bed, are hurt, or need any other assistance. Even in a small house, a cancer patient who feels weak may not have the energy to call out, or a caregiver may be out on an errand or performing a chore, so using a device is helpful. This simple step can give patients and their caregivers peace of mind. Today, there are devices with different features and uses, including telehealth sensors that can be distributed around the house to monitor patients and their condition.


  1. Make Changes When Necessary 


Changes to the home might be necessary, especially if the patient goes through a difficult period or is experiencing increasing debilities. For example, it might make sense to relocate the patient to a different room closer to the bathroom or modify a downstairs room so they don’t have to navigate a staircase. Rearranging the bed’s location to the middle of the room so it is more accessible or placing a small table near the bed so the patient can easily access whatever they need without having to get up are minor modifications that can make a big difference in easing burdens. Walking aids, an ergonomic chair, a shower bench, or grab rails on the bed and near the toilet can also help a patient to be more independent.


  1. Coordinate and Organize Wellness Services 


When going through or recovering from cancer treatment, patients might need a range of services. They can benefit from financial counseling, gentle movement classes, and holistic therapies like acupuncture or massage.


Managing the different facets of care can get chaotic, so it is important to schedule all of these services well in advance so they don’t conflict with each other or with medical appointments. When scheduling appointments, caregivers should bear in mind that cancer patients undergoing treatment can tire easily, so they should not book more than one service per day. They should also keep some days free of appointments. Even the simple task of getting ready to leave the house and adhere to a schedule can feel burdensome, so giving a patient some “down” days may be more beneficial to their well-being than having to leave the house for a massage.


While living at home means that a cancer patient will need outside support, being able to live in the comfort and familiarity of home can improve a patient’s mental health and reduce the trauma of cancer treatment. To learn more about how to provide caregiver support or for help managing all the facets of care, please reach out to Beacon Clinic. We offer comprehensive cancer care services, including immunotherapy, oral chemotherapy, targeted therapy, access to clinical trials, and supportive services.