With the aid of things like technology and with medical advances, many families enter roles as caregivers of their loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer. There is no place like home and being surrounded by those who love you, and while the prospect of a shortened hospital stay is exciting for many patients and their families, the idea of caring for someone with cancer can be daunting or scary.
If you have recently found yourself in that position, here are some ideas for helpful equipment for your home to make it a place of comfort and healing.
A Medical Bed and Table
Probably one of the most important pieces of equipment is a medical bed. It is moveable, reclines or inclines, and includes special features to make life easier for both the patient and those caring for them. A medical bed allows the patient to rest and heal in a place where they don’t have to be isolated or feel like an invalid.
The risk of bed sores is a prevalent and uncomfortable issue for those confined to medical beds and furniture for more than 16 hours a day. A good quality air mattress or pressure mattress can help with this situation. They will help distribute the pressure that areas of the body will experience, reducing the risk of sores and the infections that can come with them.
An over-the-bed table can be used in a variety of ways, from the dinner table for your loved one, a place for them to enjoy hobbies or games, or as an extra surface for medical supplies and medications.
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for those who are experiencing weakness or fatigue. Making the bathroom safe and accessible can be easy, and you will have peace of mind knowing your loved one can receive the care they need in an environment suited to their needs. A shower chair allows the patient to still enjoy the warmth and renewal that comes from bathing, and a toilet frame or commode chair keeps them comfortable while relieving themselves.
For those times when getting out of bed isn’t an option, you can still give your loved one the comfort of cleanliness. If traveling to the toilet isn’t possible or comfortable, there are other options available for these needs. An inflatable shampoo basin can be helpful when a shower is not possible, allowing a caretaker to wash the patient’s hair without the need for a trip to the tub.
With the weakness that cancer and its treatments can bring, it would be a good idea to equip your home with mobility options for your loved one. A wheelchair is helpful around the house and to go outside or to doctor appointments. Depending on their level of strength, a walker, also called a rollator, would be a good option for short trips from their bed to the bathroom or another room of the house.
Physiotherapy can offer patients a chance to strengthen themselves and keep their bodies and minds as well as possible throughout their battle with cancer. Physiotherapists work with the patient to improve mobility and agility, to manage pain, and to prevent disease.
If you don’t have a reliable thermometer around the home, now is the time to get one. Depending on the type of in-home care that will be assisting you, it could be a good idea to invest in things like a blood pressure monitor. You will need to receive ample training from doctors and nurses to be a caregiver for your loved one, and they can give further instructions on the medical equipment needs you will have.
In the Kitchen
Special consideration should be given to how you equip yourself in the kitchen. With the weakness and upset stomach that may come along with many of the treatments your loved one is going through, and the simple fact that you will most likely find yourself busier than you’ve ever been, invest in some good helpful tools in the kitchen. For the patient, a pill pulveriser may be helpful when swallowing becomes difficult, and there are multitudes of pills to be taken each day. Water bottles or nosey cups, which can be used while lying down, will be useful to make sure the patient stays hydrated all day long.
The Comforts of Home
Consider creative ways to provide your loved one with the comforts they enjoyed as a part of everyday life before the diagnosis and battle with cancer. Warm blankets, soft pillows, the ability to watch TV or listen to music, fresh flowers, home cooked meals, and access to family life are all small acts that could make a big difference in the morale of the patient. When going through such physical pain, a reminder of all the beautiful and good things in life can help us persevere in the face of great hardness. Never underestimate how little things like this could add up to be of great cheer to the patient in your home.