Your role as a caregiver
As a cancer caregiver, you play an invaluable role
At GenesisCare, we understand how important you are to the treatment experience. With our integrated network of specialists, we want you to know that throughout the entire process, we are here for you too.
Our teams are always on hand to answer any questions you may have about the best way to care for your friend or loved one during their cancer journey.
What can you do to help a loved one?
The first thing you can do is put together a schedule, so you know when you’ll need to accompany your friend or loved one to and from their appointments.
You can also create a contact list with important phone numbers and e-mails, as well as that of any secondary caregivers so that it is all in one place and easy to read. If your friend or loved one has a cell phone, you can add these numbers under their contacts too.
You can also give your own contact information to the GenesisCare care team that is responsible for looking after your friend or loved one, just in case we can’t get through to them.
There can be a lot of detailed information involved when you’re going through cancer treatment and it can be hard to keep track of all the appointments and new prescriptions to follow. Becoming an extra set of eyes and ears can help your friend or loved one during their cancer journey. Three things you can do are:
- Go to appointments and treatments when you can – your friend or loved one may find the extra support during appointments and treatments valuable. You can also bring along a pen and pad and take notes, that way you can refer back to what was said during the appointment if there was confusion
- Learn about the cancer together – this will help you both understand how the disease behaves, why radiation was chosen as an effective therapy and the overall treatment process
- Write down any questions – there’s no such thing as a silly or embarrassing question. Having a pad of paper or document on your computer with any questions you and your friend or loved one have will help you to remember to ask them
Dealing with paperwork and insurance claims can cause worry for a patient. Lending a hand and helping to organize treatment documentation and insurance information can help to ease stress.
You can start by setting up two sets of folders for the paperwork, one set for you and one for your friend or loved one. When you go to treatments together, make a copy of every document so you each have one.
You may find it easier to have separate folders for different types of paperwork, such as:
- Treatment documentation and instructions
- Information on prescriptions and medication
- Insurance paperwork
- Additional documents
On the inside cover of each folder, you can write down the contact information for relevant personnel.
Your friend or loved one will need to bring their insurance card to every appointment. You can ask them for the name of their insurance provider a copy of their insurance card so you have this information in case they forget.
Every GenesisCare center has a resident office financial counselor who helps file insurance claims, determines what is covered and makes sure the right referrals and forms for reimbursement are filled out. You may find it helpful to write down the name and contact information of your office financial counsellor after your first visit to our center. Your friend or loved one will be asked to sign a privacy waiver to comply with HIPAA Guidelines, if you’re handling their personal health information.
At GenesisCare, we want you to know that we support all patients and their caregivers throughout the entire process.
If you’d like some additional information on caregiving, further tips can be found through the resources below:
Keep life as normal as possible
Your friend or loved one might start to find that their normal life starts to change during their cancer journey. You should try and help them keep to their daily routine such as getting up and going to work, doing the shopping, taking the dog for a walk, seeing family and meeting up with friends. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or a nudge from you to get them going.
Plan some distractions
It’s common for patients to get down when they are alone and have nothing to distract them. Planning things to do together like weekly catch ups, movie nights, or visits to attractions can make a big difference.
Keep yourself healthy
Providing support for your friend or loved one throughout their cancer treatment is something that they’ll always treasure, but it can take its toll on you. There are many local and national online support groups that can give you tips on how to best provide support, while keeping yourself emotionally healthy.