Bringing Cancer Care Home

Take advantage of as many of these services as desired for the best possible cancer care at home.

By Clare Absher RN BSN  
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Home Health (Skilled) Agencies

Home health agencies provide nurses for wound care, IVs, ostomy care, chemotherapy, supervising meds, and pain management. Physical Therapy (PT), Speech Therapy (ST), and Occupational Therapy (OT) can help strengthen weak muscles, ensure safe mobility, improve communication skills, and teach ways to manage ADLs (such as eating, dressing, and bathing). Home therapists are especially good at helping families get the right home equipment to secure safety while enhancing mobility and comfort. Devices such as overbed tables, reachers/grabbers, stocking aides, and security poles can be shipped to your door.

Home health agencies are licensed by their state and qualified services are reimbursed by private insurance and/or Medicare when ordered by a physician. Refer to our online directory of home health agencies to find ones in your area and review their ratings.


Home Care (Non-Medical) Agencies

Home care agencies are an extremely practical form of assistance that brings immeasurable help to families caring for loved ones with cancer.  I also cannot overstate the value that a homemaker or CNA (certified nurse assistant) gives to those struggling with the disease as well. It may be in the form of expert personal care such as a warm soothing bath, or a comforting back or foot message. Perhaps a caregiver’s merit lies in performing a gentle shampoo followed by hair styling to make your mom feel beautiful.

Hospice Care

Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last stages of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. Research hospice providers in your area early on to find one that is reputable and accredited. Identify a hospice agency that is licensed by the state and is Medicare certified. Private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans’ programs will pay for a certain amount of home hospice services. Hospice care at home can make a vast difference in the quality of life for your loved one in late stages of illness.



Volunteers and Respite Care

Volunteers and respite care come from a variety of sources and should never be overlooked as valuable assets to enhance caregiving at home for your loved one with cancer. It may be a fellow church member that offers to sit with your loved one or a friend that takes your loved one to treatments. Your volunteer angel might be a neighbor who picks up groceries or a family member that cooks meals for the family. Respite or relief can be occasional, temporary, part-time, or long-term depending on your family needs. Respite can re-energize and give you the strength needed to render ideal care to your special loved one. I encourage families to welcome and accept respite care in all of its forms.

Transportation provides help and hope for people coping with cancer. Numerous cancer patients need treatments but cannot find a ride to get there. Here is a list of several excellent resources for transportation.

The American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program provides a toll-free number 800-227-2345 for getting transportation to and from treatments.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) coordinate and offer services that help older adults remain in their homes. Older folks with cancer can refer to their local agency to find transportation to appointments. Find contact information for your Area Agency on Aging.



Financial Assistance

A Helping Hand enables you to find assistance from organizations that provide financial help. Access the searchable database that is disease specific to identify cancer care resources in your area.

Meals and Grocery Delivery

Meals on Wheels programs offer those coping with cancer illness an easy solution to getting meals delivered to their homes. This service is available in most areas and is very handy when grocery shopping and preparing meals is too difficult. There are also plenty of private delivery services from gourmet meals to your favorite fast food delivery; learn more about the variety of food delivery options.

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Clare Absher RN BSN

About the Author

Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 40 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.

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