November is National Caregiver Month and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is important to recognize all of the significant work that mesothelioma caregivers do for their family and loved ones.
There are more than 44 million Americans who serve as cancer caregivers in some capacity according to the National Alliance for Caregiving. Being a caregiver can be full of ups and downs and can be emotionally draining, especially if the patient is a family member or close friend.
This year at Mesothelioma Guide, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are going to outline 5 reasons why we can be thankful for mesothelioma caregivers and their dedication to helping others:
Providing Support and Encouragement
Mesothelioma diagnoses are often sudden and do not give patients much time to adjust to the many new challenges that they may face. Caregivers are essential in keeping spirits high and showing their loved ones that they do not have to walk this road alone. Having someone who they can count on to help them through this difficult time is one of the most critical aspects of a caregiver’s job.
Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma often need someone to monitor their health for any sudden changes so that their doctors can treat accordingly. For pleural mesothelioma, one of the most common symptoms is pleural effusions. As the pleural membrane fills with fluid and the tumor spreads from its point of origin, it can restrict normal lung expansion and hinder breathing.
Having a caregiver nearby or as live-in help can be extremely beneficial since some patients require oxygen or the drainage of pleural effusions while they are at home and not in a medical facility.
Helping with Daily Tasks
Typically, once patients start undergoing treatment they won’t be able to complete all activities of daily living on their own. Most mesothelioma patients are given chemotherapy, which can cause fatigue, making it hard to care for themselves without the help of a caregiver. Small tasks such as food shopping or cleaning the house can be relieved by a caregiver.
Assisting with Meals
Making sure patients maintain a healthy diet during treatment is essential to improving their prognosis. Chemotherapy and radiation can often cause nausea to the point where food is challenging to stomach. Caregivers help patients by providing meal replacement shakes or offering anti-nausea medication.
Handling Financial/Legal Issues
Mesothelioma, like most types of cancer, can be a costly disease to treat. Because of this, patients will likely not want to burden their family with out of pocket expenses. This is why most mesothelioma patients seek legal representation to gain access to Asbestos Trust Funds, which were set up to help patients diagnosed with mesothelioma to pay for healthcare costs and ensure their family financial security
Hiring a mesothelioma lawyer is also necessary to file a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturing company that exposed the patient to asbestos. Caregivers can handle the administrative details when communicating with the lawyer and make arrangements so that the patient can focus on their recovery and spend quality time with their family.
To all of the people who dedicate themselves to caring for others at their most vulnerable: Thank you.