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Caring for Cancer Patients at Home: A Caregiver's Guide

Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD · Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 15, 2021

    Caring for Cancer Patients at Home: A Caregiver's Guide

    Caring for cancer patients at home can be very difficult at times. However, the feeling of being able to provide comfort to a loved one can be very rewarding.

    The usual primary caregivers of those with cancer at home is a partner, parent, or adult child. In some cases, close friends can assume this role.

    Caregivers play a vital role in cancer recovery. Not only do they make sure treatment is carried out, but they also offer emotional support.

    From running daily errands to making sure patients take their medication, primary caregivers make the often overwhelming journey of cancer recovery easier.

    It’s well known that those with cancer can recover better at home, as opposed to a prolonged hospital stay.

    There’s also the risk that patients can acquire hospital-borne infections such as pneumonia. This is why some cancer patients opt for being cared for at home if possible.

    Emotional Support for Cancer Patients: A Guide for Caregivers

    Caring for Cancer Patients at Home

    caring for cancer patients at home

    Caring for a cancer patient at home can involve different tasks, such as the following:

    • Providing medical care
    • Helping out with financial issues
    • Communicating with their doctor
    • Emotional support
    • Preparing meals
    • Helping out with personal hygiene
    • For terminally ill patients, making sure they are comfortable in their remaining days

    All of these things might sound daunting. But by following the tips below, caring for cancer patients at home can be easier.

    List down daily tasks

    The first thing a caregiver needs to do would be to list down all of the things you need to do throughout the day.

    This includes when the patient needs to take their medicine, when to eat, when to bathe, or if possible, going outside for fresh air. This should also include scheduled visits to the doctor, and other forms of treatment.

    Try to list them down in order of importance, and check each task as you finish it.

    This helps you stay organized, and ensures that you can provide all of the care that someone with cancer needs.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    Trying to care for a loved one with cancer can be overwhelming. This is why it’s important to reach out for help from your family and friends.

    By asking for help,  you are relieving a lot of pressure from yourself, and you’re making sure that you can provide the right care. It’s also important for you to get enough rest and relaxation for yourself.

    Stay positive

    Staying positive plays a big role when it comes to cancer recovery. In addition, staying positive as a caregiver helps reassure a person with cancer, and can help prevent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression.

    It might be difficult to stay positive in the midst of things that are hard to control. But what matters is that you keep trying.

    Take control

    If you are the primary caregiver, it’s up to you to take control and make decisions if needed. If there are other caregivers, you need to be the one to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others.

    Creating schedules for shifts and tasks can also help keep things organized, and makes caring for cancer patients at home easier.

    If you are unable to take care of the patient, or there is an emergency, there needs to be a plan of who can replace you if needed.

    It is important to take all of these things into consideration to help ensure that the person with cancer can be cared for properly.

    Pleasurable activities are important

    Take some time to relax and engage in fun activities. You could watch a movie at home, listen to some music, play some board games, or engage in some hobbies that you and the person you’re taking care of can participate in.

    This can also help mitigate boredom, and keeps their spirits up even if they are having a hard time with their condition.

    These types of activities are also good for a caregiver’s mental health, since it’s a much-needed break from the daily activities that caregivers need to do.

    Learn more about their condition

    Don’t hesitate to talk to their doctor and ask questions. Try to keep yourself informed about their condition, what problems may occur, and what to expect.

    This helps you get a better idea of what a person with cancer is going through, and also helps you take better care of them. You can write this down in a notebook, or take down important notes that you can share with other caregivers as well.

    Don’t forget self-care

    Self-care is also very important. You might be working hard trying to take care of a cancer patient, but you also need to take care of yourself.

    Take breaks every so often, and be sure to get enough sleep. Engaging in exercise can also be a form of self-care, so try to get some exercise, if you can.

    Another part of self-care is knowing your limitations. If you feel overwhelmed or too tired, take a moment to clear your head and rest.

    Disregarding self-care can even cause you to get sick, which can make things even more difficult. So be sure to keep your mind and your body healthy.

    Professional help is always an option

    Lastly, if you are finding it difficult to do things yourself, you can look for professional help.

    The important thing to remember would be to get someone you can trust, and someone who has the know-how and experience to take care of a person with cancer.

    It might be a good idea to look for referrals from trusted friends or relatives, to make sure that you are hiring the right person.

    It’s also important to guide them on how to care for the patient, and give them your contact information, as well as those of friends and family in case there is an emergency.

    These tips should help you take better care of a person with cancer, and can give them a better quality of life.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    John Paul Abrina, MD

    Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 15, 2021

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