A mesothelioma diagnosis is hard on everyone involved, and caregivers must deal with personal difficulties that are uniquely their own.
Caring for Someone With Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare disease with an unfortunately short prognosis for most patients, making the role of the caregiver priceless. Caring for someone with cancer can take its toll on the caregiver. However, caregivers can prepare themselves for what’s ahead.
Duties of the Caregiver
The caregiver perspective can be useful in determining whether certain treatments should be continued or not. Caregivers are expected to help manage medications for their loved one and report any new or changed health issues to their doctors.
One of the caregiver’s most important roles is to comfort and listen to their loved one through any rough patches. Mesothelioma develops seemingly out of nowhere and patients can expect to face a series of new challenges. Having the companionship of the caregiver makes getting through this difficult time easier.
Caregivers play a big part in the decision-making process, which can often be the hardest role. These decisions may regard treatment, financial and legal issues, insurance and end-of-life care.
What Caregivers Can Expect
There are many facets to being a caregiver for someone with mesothelioma. The most basic of these is taking over the duties and responsibilities that the patient can no longer attend to without help. The most common responsibilities of the caregiver include:
- Feeding, dressing and bathing
- Scheduling doctor appointments
- Monitoring changes in health
- Managing medication
- Providing transportation
- Managing insurance
- Liaison for financial and legal issues
The roles of the caregiver change with development of the patient’s mesothelioma. As the cancer becomes more advanced, caregivers have to address more of the day-to-day needs that the patient. Conversely, patients may also have improvements in health, reducing the need for this kind of support.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Some people may be concerned about taking time off from work, which is often required of caregivers. When their disease advances, patients may require more care. Caregivers may have to travel with the patient for medical procedures that can take up to a week, including recovery and travel time. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provides certain caregivers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to protect them from losing their jobs when caregiving starts taking more time.