How to Care for a Child with Cancer at Home

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There have been many advances in the medical field for cancer patients, which mean better treatment options and monitoring tools. These advances allow for children to spend less time in the hospital while fighting cancer—which also means that more and more care is falling onto the shoulders of parents and other family members.

Managing Care

One of the most important aspects of caring for a child with cancer at home is handling the medical aspects. Some children are terminal and many are not, but every child with cancer needs help handling side effects. They also need to have someone responsible managing their medications and doctor’s appointments, as well as someone to report issues that surface to the health care team.

Your child’s health care team, which will consist of many doctors as well as professionals involved in mental health, will provide you with clear instructions, guidelines, and all of the information that you need to care for your child at home. These instructions will be different for each child’s unique situation. It is very important to follow these guidelines carefully. It may seem overwhelming at first, but with a clear plan and routine, everything will be handled.

Support

It’s important to provide support and encouragement to your child. Part of this encouragement will include having a positive attitude and being confident that you can handle your child’s care. It’s best to talk to your child about what to expect for the future and answer questions honestly. Be open about your fears and hopes, and use simple language to explain what is happening. Reassure your child that being open about feelings is okay.

Take a Break

Finally, taking a break for you is necessary. Caring for a sick child, even if your child’s condition is improving, can be exhausting and is a significant source of stress. Have a partner, loved one, or friend volunteer to give you a break regularly so that you can take time to recharge your batteries.