Caregivers provide physical, practical and emotional support. Most caregivers are family members or friends. At times, a patient may hire a person who is a professional caregiver.
At Winship, we recognize the caregiver is an important member of the patient’s health care team but also needs support through the cancer journey.
Possible Duties of a Caregiver
There are a number of duties a caregiver may perform for you, including:
- Advocating on your behalf.
- Helping you comply with medication guidelines.
- Making sure you schedule necessary medical visits.
- Monitoring and managing some side effects.
- Assisting you with daily living activities, like cooking, bill paying, cleaning, etc.
- Cheering you on and helping you maintain a positive attitude.
Tips for Your Caregiver
Whether your caregiver is experienced, or doing this for the first time, here are some ways to help them:
- Help them practice self-care by getting rest, exercising and eating well. Sometimes caregivers neglect themselves, which will have a negative impact on both of you. Caregiver burnout is possible.
- Remind them to keep their own doctor appointments.
- Recommend that they take a moment every day to do one thing for themselves.
- Have a support network. Winship provides a support group just for caregivers.
- Ask for help and accept help offered.
Most of all, caregivers should be flexible and not expect to be perfect.
When caring for a patient with cancer, it's important for a caregiver to be up-to-date with their vaccines, especially the annual flu shot.