One of the most difficult positions to be in is to learn your loved one has mesothelioma. Help cannot come soon enough, particularly since mesothelioma is diagnosed in the late stages, minimizing the time your loved one has to receive mesothelioma treatment.
You have a lot of responsibility and very little time to understand all that needs to be done to care for a mesothelioma patient. Support to help you provide the best care is critical during this time.
The following information is meant to assist you in not only caring for your loved one, but caring for yourself as well. It is very important that you maintain your own health during this trying time, so you can provide the best care to your patient.
You are now part of an important team to ensure the appropriate care and treatment of your loved one’s asbestos cancer. Therefore, you will need to be equipped to make decisions and be prepared to work with the mesothelioma doctors and medical team to ensure appropriate measures are taken. This includes being prepared to:
- Work with Hospital Personnel – have the appropriate documentation to help you manage the mesothelioma process, such as known allergies, prescription sensitivities, a list of current medications, and a list of physicians with contact information.
- Organize Documentation – your loved one will need to have appropriate documentation completed, such as a living will, power of attorney, and advance directive. Make sure you have quick access to these documents in case you need them.
- Know the Medical Providers – make sure you know the attending physician and are comfortable asking questions. You will also want to build a rapport with the attending nurses in order to open lines of communication.
- Understand Your Hospice Care Choices – the majority of people prefer to be in the comfort of their own home during those last days. Having information on hospice care in advance will assist you in making critical decisions while under stress.
Care For Yourself
As a care giver, you play a crucial role in your loved one’s life. It is important to ensure that you are healthy enough to fulfill this role. Maintaining some balance to care for yourself will give you the strength to carry on, even in the toughest times. Some ideas you may want to consider are:
- Find others to talk to for emotional support, whether in a support group, clergy, family friend, or family member.
- Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. It is important to ask for help when you need it.
- Make sure you have time for yourself to decompress from the stress.
- Consider respite care, which provides temporary care for specific tasks or allows you to take time for a much needed vacation.
Regardless of your care giving situation, it is critical that you adopt coping skills and allow for time for yourself. You are in a critical role that may last for an extended period of time. Learning to set appropriate boundaries and working with organizations to support you will extend your ability to provide help and support to your mesothelioma patient.