Cancer diagnosis is always devastating for the patient and the family. But this is where the long and often arduous journey starts. The curative treatment runs its own course and during this time the patient battles physically, mentally, and emotionally with the illness.
While the treatment of cancer is currently possible in hospitals, at home care services can be used for managing the illness at home. These services provide the additional help that the patient and family caregivers can use as they go through the difficult and exhausting cancer journey.
So how do at home care services help with cancer management at home?
State of the vital signs is the first indictor of health of a cancer patient. It is also the first indicator of distress. A growing body of research found that patients who routinely monitored and reported their vital signs and symptoms lived longer and had a better quality of life than the people who didn’t.
Nurses are also trained to monitor and record blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature of patients in the oncology ward of a hospital. The same can be done by at-home care service providers as well. They can monitor and record these vital signs in an app or a digital system and make them accessible to doctors and specialists.
Cancer patients experience different types of side effects of the curative treatment that they undergo. They feel nauseous, lose their appetite, develop constipation, experience pain, so on and so forth. Due to these side effects they make several hospital visits and get medicines administered.
An at-home care service can help avoid these hospital visits. The trained medical staff of these service providers, in consultation with the treating specialist, can administer the medicines at home and save those hospital trips that can be physically and emotionally taxing for the patient.
In some cases, cancer patients end up with medical equipment/accessories attached to them like an oxygen concentrator, catheter, or a feeding tube. These equipment needs to be changed periodically for which the patient keeps visiting hospitals. Here also the medically trained staff of at-home health service provider can help.
They can change this equipment at home for the patient. They can also train the family caregivers on how to monitor this equipment.
Cancer patients are prone to clinical episodes of pain or other side effects. They might experience excruciating pain some day or develop severe constipation. These side effects might require trained medics to step in and provide physical intervention.
At-home care service providers with clinically trained staff can provide such interventions at home. If the at-home care is doctor driven, then the doctors can monitor physically or remotely as the nursing staff follows the defined protocol to manage the episode and provide relief to the patient.
As a doctor-driven at-home care provider, we have provided medical interventions for the following episodes:
These interventions prevented hospital revisits or re-admissions.
Pain is one of the major side effects of cancer curative treatments. It is a constant discomfort experienced by patients and requires well-managed relief. In fact, in 1999 pain was recognized as a vital sign to be monitored in cancer patients. The pain experienced by the patients changes as the disease progresses. Hence it requires to be constantly monitored on the NRS Scale for pain measurement. This is possible at home.
The at-home service providers can monitor the pain regularly along with the other vital signs and report to the specialist who can then triage the medication. These service providers can also administer the pain medication as recommended by the specialist.
The at-home care providers can extend pain management protocol of the pain specialist at home.
The nausea and loss of appetite experienced by the cancer patients makes them weak and frail. The inability to consume food easily affects their ability to endure curative treatment. Additionally, the food and nutrition needs of cancer patients are also different depending on the type of cancer.
At-home care providers have nutritionist support available. These nutritionists work with the patient’s kin to map out a food plan that is ideal for the patient. They help the family understand the food requirements of the patient and how to meet them.
Once frail, cancer patients may lose their ability to move around freely. In such condition, they need help with their daily activities of bathing and cleaning. The nursing attendants of the at-home care service providers can take care of the nursing needs of the patients.
They can assist the patient in their daily activities, prevent unnecessary distress, and make the patients feel as comfortable as possible.
Cancer as an illness does not affect just the individual patient. It affects the whole family. On one hand, the patient struggles with the disease on physical and emotional level. But the patient’s kin also go through their own myriad of emotions as they see their loved one battling with the illness. There is a lot of angst, despair, helplessness, guilt that develops over time.
At-home care providers have counsellors that work with the patient and the family to help them deal with the situation on hand. They help them with the pent-up emotional baggage that the illness brings along with it. They also provide the much-needed emotional support and outlet for the guilt that the family experiences once the patient succumbs.
The diagnosis of cancer is never easy. But what comes after that in terms of care is far more difficult to deal with. There are varying opinions around the line of treatment and the care regimen. There are many different approaches which can be overwhelming and confusing for the patient and the family.
At-home care providers help them with navigating through this care process. They help them understand what to expect from the treatment and how to prepare for it.
A large part of the cancer patients want to stay at home surrounded by their loved ones as they go through the illness. They need the emotional support and comfort that is found only at home. At-home care providers play a crucial role in meeting this need. They make it possible for the patients to continue cancer management while staying at home and creating memories to cherish