Patients undergoing chemotherapy often need support during the process. Your support of someone going through this treatment can help him cope with the physical and mental stress associated with cancer and its aftermath. Follow these steps to lend a hand.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Computer with Internet access
Offer practical support by doing things such as driving the patient to chemotherapy treatments, sitting in on doctor's appointments, cooking, shopping, caring for pets and watering plants.
Check in on the patient. Often people undergoing chemotherapy treatment feel fatigued and overwhelmed and they may not have the energy to ask for the specific help they need. Do not assume that if you have asked a patient once, she will not need help later.
Know your role. Most people undergoing chemotherapy turn first to family and friends for support. However, there may be some things patients do not feel comfortable discussing with their loved ones, and they may feel more comfortable talking with other cancer survivors. Allow your loved one the freedom to seek additional sources of support.
Be aware that caring for someone undergoing chemotherapy can be very time-consuming and fatiguing. Arrange your own schedule and adjust your lifestyle so that you have adequate time for rest and self care, as well as caring for the individual with cancer.
Play. Chemotherapy patients often benefit from mild and fun forms of exercise, from diversions like funny movies and from interesting and engaging activities.
Listen. The most important form of support you can offer is your willingness to listen without judgment.
Support your friend by asking his doctor questions that may be difficult for him to articulate. If you know your friend has certain worries about chemotherapy that aren't being expressed, you may wish to discreetly bring them up with the doctor yourself. Take care not to embarrass your friend while doing this.
Be aware that people undergoing chemotherapy occasionally become clinically depressed. Speak with the patient's doctor or ask for a referral to a counseling professional if you have concerns about the patient's psychological state.
Tips and warnings
- Take care of your mental health. Supporting someone fighting cancer with chemotherapy can be exhausting. To feel less alone in your struggle, join a support group for family members that are going through the same experience.