Today, the majority of cancer patients receive their care as outpatients, which means they are not required to stay in the hospital. They frequently require assistance, encouragement, and support at this time.
According to a number of studies, people who have experienced cancer tend to adjust to its effects more easily, have a better outlook on life, and frequently report higher quality of life when they have significant emotional support. According to research, cancer patients require the support of their friends. A person with cancer can really benefit from your help.
Keep an eye out for more things you may provide as you spend time with your buddy and learn more about how cancer is impacting their daily lives. As you observe your friend’s reactions to various activities, be aware that as the treatment progresses, things may alter. The best way to be a friend is to cater your assistance to what they need and enjoy most. Here, we’ll provide you with some suggestions about where to start.
What should you give a cancer-stricken friend?
Finding the ideal present for a friend or member of your family can be difficult. If that individual is receiving cancer treatment or is caring for someone who is, it might be considerably harder. Here are some of the gift suggestions our social media followers made after being asked.
1. Gift cards or a meal service
Both the patient and the caregiver may spend a lot of time and energy traveling to and from home for cancer treatments. A meal delivery service, a gift certificate to their preferred eatery, or a home-cooked meal will relieve them of the chore of grocery shopping and meal preparation.
Many cancer patients can benefit from massage, whether they are recovering from current treatment or not. By easing muscle tension, it can lessen pain and enhance emotional well-being by lowering stress and anxiety.
Offer to watch the kids or take them out for a fun day if your friend or relative has children. Otherwise, offer to handle errands and routine tasks so they may have some alone time to do whatever they choose.
3. A tidy (or orderly) home
Sophia V. claimed that her friends hired a home cleaner to come in while she was receiving treatment. “Despite the fact that I want to keep to myself, I truly needed it. When I was ill, having brand-new, clean sheets on my bed was the nicest gift!
Four. Comfy Clothes
Patients may experience prolonged hospital stays or recuperation periods at home during treatment. A useful present is anything cozy, like loungewear or pajama sets. Following a double mastectomy, Janeen S. stated that cotton robes with snap-fronts and pockets were her favorite present. “They were stylish and included places for the drain bulbs and cables that fit in between the closures.
A Care Basket, 5.
A present that is meaningful and well-received can be a basket filled with carefully chosen goods for amusement and comfort. Some suggestions include blankets, lotion or hand sanitizer, their preferred candies or snacks, books, or periodicals. When Carol C. was receiving therapy, her staff allegedly made a “sunshine box” where everything was yellow. It made me feel better, for sure!
7. The same present you would otherwise give them
Sometimes people undergoing treatment simply want to be treated the same way they were prior to developing cancer. The ideal present might not have anything to do with their treatment or the fact that they are battling cancer.
What supplies do cancer patients require?
Ulreich suggests including some of the following items in your cancer care box to get things started:
- Chapstick. Radiation and chemotherapy can cause dry lips.
- Travel games and coloring books.
- fuzzy slippers or socks.
- Gum or hard candies.
- gift card for a salon or hat.
What do people with cancer most want?
The majority of cancer patients want to be well-informed during their treatment.
25 Patients desire to know about their treatment, and getting useful information is substantially correlated with pleasure. From diagnosis through follow-up, information seeking is still present. We were able to investigate the interactions and connections between overall satisfaction ratings of care and the satisfaction of precisely timed information demands along the cancer journey by applying a unique network analytic approach to a huge database of patients’ perspectives of their care.
Overall, the network’s edges represented the strength of the positive relationships between information needs and satisfaction, demonstrating that patients’ overall satisfaction levels increased when more of their stated information needs were satisfied. A higher level of satisfaction with cancer treatment has significant effects on enhancing self-efficacy and health-related quality of life. 26 It was discovered that the global patient satisfaction node was the most significant node in this network, possessing the highest levels of centrality and predictive power. The results of the current study are best understood as demonstrating that pleasure is a major byproduct of satisfying the whole spectrum of information needs. Typically, centrality features are viewed as identifying the nodes that powerfully excite many other nodes when activated27.
Through community detection, the network analysis revealed latent groups. There were found to be five clusters. The clusters related to latent themes as well as temporal characteristics of a cancer journey. For instance, the blue colored group corresponded to information needs associated with side effects, whereas the green colored cluster had information needs questions from earlier stages of the cancer journey. Information requirements questions connected to early stages of the cancer journey and patient satisfaction with care were discovered to cluster together. This showed that addressing information needs prior to outpatient care, throughout the hospital stay of the cancer journey, was most strongly associated with satisfaction. The early stages of the cancer journey, such as when cancer is diagnosed, have previously been proven to have higher levels of information need. 12, 28 This has significant ramifications because it supports the idea that addressing information needs early on may result in fewer supportive needs at later stages of the cancer journey. If a higher percentage of information needs are met in a CCG during this initial phase, there is also a higher overall satisfaction with the care provided by the CCG. 11
Clinical nurse specialists played significant roles for patients in this study. The global satisfaction node in the network was closely related to and highly correlated with the ability to comprehend responses to information requests made to a clinical nurse specialist. Clinical nurse specialists who provide long-term cancer care are an essential part of the healthcare team in the UK. They frequently serve as the patients’ and their families’ primary point of contact. However, the delivery of clinical nurse specialist care varies and can be influenced by variables like geography or disease classification. 29 Making ensuring the patient is aware of who to turn to for information and help is a key component of their duty. 21 Another study found that patients thought breast care specialists were better at providing information than other staff members,30 highlighting the significance of the clinical nurse specialist in the task of meeting the information demands of cancer patients. Some of the shortcomings of unmet information demands may be fixed by improving access to nurse specialists. 9
Weaker correlations between addressing information demands for cancer assistance, such as knowledge for self-help groups, financial benefits, and medications, and overall happiness were discovered. Research has revealed that the vast majority of patients want information on their particular type of cancer, treatment options, and potential adverse effects. 31 In a different study, it was discovered that less than 10% of patients requested or valued information about support. 32 This is supported by the network analysis’s centrality findings, which show that nodes associated with “support for persons with cancer” had lower levels of “closeness” and “betweenness,” making them less important and less likely to have a direct impact on the network.
The desire for information during outpatient therapies like radiotherapy and chemotherapy also demonstrated a lesser correlation with overall satisfaction. Although patients seek information on diagnosis and treatment, not all patients want more information at every point of their cancer journey, according to a qualitative study employing in-depth interviews in an outpatient oncology setting. 33 Other research exploring changes in information demands over the course of the cancer experience lend support to this. Information requirements are high at diagnosis, however it has been seen that they fluctuate during treatment and rise once more during followup. 28 Our network study revealed a similar temporal association between information demands and patient happiness throughout the cancer journey, proving that providing information when it is most needed will most likely result in higher overall satisfaction with care.
What are the comfort needs of cancer patients?
Many of us want to help when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, but few of us are sure how. If this is a new experience, the patient might not even know what to say and may feel embarrassed to tell well-meaning family and friends what they could actually use. Giving gifts or providing charitable deeds throughout the holidays is ideal. For that special cancer patient in your life, we’ve put together a list of practical and heartfelt gift suggestions for the holidays or any other time of the year.
an umbrella. Although most infusion rooms (where chemotherapy is administered) provide blankets, it may be even more comforting to have your own soft, velvety covering given to you by a particular someone. Hospitals are known for being cool. Also think about coverings made from soft materials like jersey knit. At our hospital in Atlanta, a woman with breast cancer shared with us how her blanket helped her feel more at ease when she was agitated or cold, both at home and in the hospital.
Pillow case. Many chemotherapy patients have a port installed under their skin, typically on the chest, so that the medications can be given intravenously instead of repeatedly sticking themselves with needles. When riding in a car, a port pillow prevents the port site from becoming irritated by the seatbelt. One is frequently available in hospital gift shops, online, or you may search for websites that show you how to construct one yourself. By easing the strain of the arm on the breast, a tiny, soft pillow placed under the arm may also be helpful for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.
the silk eye mask. This straightforward and affordable present may enable the patient to take a nap during therapy or get a full night’s sleep at home or in the hospital, places where light and noise can impair both the quality and quantity of sleep. In comparison to masks made of satin or other materials that might become hot or uncomfortable when worn for extended durations, silk masks are typically more comfortable. Think about including a lavender pillow spray and presenting the two items together in a lovely packaging with a sincere note.
lounge attire Many people don’t feel their best while undergoing treatment. Some might be recovering at home or spending lengthy periods of time in the hospital. For these events, a cozy set of loungewear or pajamas can be a suitable gift. When you go shopping, keep in mind any restrictions the patient could have when getting dressed. A button-down pajama top would be a preferable choice, for instance, for a breast cancer patient who has undergone a mastectomy since she might find it difficult to raise her arms to put on a T-shirt.
zipper puller or back scratcher. These two objects may be useful for patients who are unable to raise their arms, especially those who live alone. They may use the back scratcher to itch their backs in awkward places. There are numerous variations of the zipper puller, all of which enable the patient to reach back and zip up a dress or top on their own.
water bottle with insulation A good water bottle that keeps drinks cold or hot for extended durations may be especially helpful for chemotherapy patients who need to stay hydrated. Think about adding a monogram or purchasing a bottle with the colors, sports team, or interest of your loved one.
present cards Gift certificates can in handy in almost every circumstance. Gift cards for restaurants, meal delivery services, and automobile services for people who are unable to drive are some of the most popular choices. You can purchase gift cards to buy their preferred soundtracks, movies, audiobooks, games, or programs for their tablet or smartphone, such as guided meditation apps. Avoid giving someone a gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure because many oncologists advise against patients using artificial nails or trimming their cuticles while receiving treatment. For cancer patients, whose immune systems are already overworked, cuts or breaches in the skin may lead to an infection, which could be dangerous. Because bacteria could become trapped under the nail bed and result in an infection, acrylic nails are also not recommended during chemotherapy.
iPad, Kindle, or another tablet. By watching movies, reading books or periodicals, catching up on work, or contacting pals, these practical mobile devices might assist your loved one pass the time while receiving treatment.
Headphones. A excellent set of headphones would enable the sufferer to enjoy a movie or listen to music without bothering others. Those who share a hospital room could particularly value this present.
Adult coloring books, diaries, a bible, or spiritual or motivational literature. All of these are accessible online or at hospital gift shops.
an attractive scarf, cap, or “chemo beanie.” After losing their hair during chemotherapy, many people look for ways to cover their scalps. A vibrant, fashionable head covering could improve their sense of self while also keeping their head warm.
socks with compression These aid in reducing arm or leg edema caused by prolonged sitting, especially during traveling.
a satchel. Anita O’Dell, manager of Lori’s Gifts at our Atlanta hospital, advises creating a basket or tote bag filled with supplies the patient can use while undergoing chemotherapy. For nausea relief, O’Dell advises carrying ginger chews, a beanie or scarf to protect the head, coloring books, games, lip balm, hand lotion, magazines, fruit, and healthy foods like almonds, popcorn, or hard candies. To help with the metallic taste chemotherapy may create, a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and alcohol-free mouthwash are great extras.
There are other ways to express your affection without spending money if you’re on a tight budget or would prefer to discover a gift that doesn’t need shopping, such as:
Give assistance. Do the dishes, sweep the floor, and walk the dog. Patients who are receiving cancer therapies typically experience weariness at some time. When you’re not feeling well, even these easy tasks can be exhausting. Offer specialized services since many patients are too self-conscious to ask someone to run their errands or do their household. To avoid having to initiate the proposal, let your loved one know you’ll be going over to do the laundry, go grocery shopping, or clean the house.
Get the patient’s family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to sign up. Dropping off meals, walking the dog, doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking the patient to appointments and treatments, and organizing carpools for the patient’s kids are just a few examples of categories.
Publish a card or letter. This tiny act could make a big difference in how much comfort your loved one receives. Patients say that on days when they are feeling down, it can be very soothing to know that someone is thinking of them and sending them good vibes. One patient revealed to us that her coworkers’ encouraging phrase jar was one of her favorite gifts. Her coworkers created encouraging notes and put them in a gorgeously adorned jar. She took a message out of the inspiration jar every morning and continues to do so even now, long after her treatment has concluded.
How can a cancer patient be encouraged?
Cancer may be a very lonely disease. Spend as much time as you can with your friend; you might be able to provide a pleasant diversion and restore their sense of normalcy before cancer took center stage in their lives.
- Always give a call before coming. If your friend is unable to see you at that time, be understanding.
- Plan your visit so that you can support the caregiver both physically and emotionally. Maybe you may make plans to be with your friend for a few hours while the caretaker leaves the house.
- Make frequent, brief trips as opposed to rare, lengthy ones. Recognize that while your friend might not want to communicate, they might also not enjoy being by themselves.
- Touch, a hug, or a handshake should be used to start and conclude the visit.
- If you are asked, be considerate.
- Always mention your next visit so your friend can anticipate it.
- So that your visit doesn’t burden the caregiver, offer to bring a snack or goodie to share.
- Try to avoid visiting on weekends and holidays when others may be around. A housebound sufferer may experience the sameness of time. It’s possible to feel lonely on a Tuesday morning or a Saturday night.
- Bring your own reading material, crossword puzzles, or other activities to pass the time with your friend while they sleep or watch TV.
- For your friend, read chunks of a book or newspaper, research interesting subjects online, or summarize them for them.
- If your pal is up for it, offer to go for a quick stroll with them.
How can you support a cancer patient emotionally?
Adult cancer patients have particular demands for both their physical and emotional/mental wellbeing.
The psychological impact of cancer
A patient’s capacity to cope and adhere to a treatment plan can be impacted by a variety of factors, including managing the stress of a diagnosis, self-care during therapy, accessing financial and legal resources, and finding support.
Social workers can assist families in finding the resources they need to meet these needs. A social worker can connect a patient to transportation resources, for instance, if the patient is having problems getting a ride to medical appointments.
If some of the anxiety and obstacles associated with travelling to and from appointments are removed, the patient can concentrate on recovering. When it comes to coordinating services, educating patients, and listening to their concerns both before and after a hospital stay or treatment, social workers play a crucial role in the care team.
Talk to someone who is not a family member.
Meeting with a clinical social worker may feel intimidating, but these professionals are prepared to assist on an occasional, temporary, or ongoing basis. You get a trustworthy individual to talk to while letting your family remain your family by giving yourself the chance to chat to someone other than friends or family.
Continue with daily activities, but modify if necessary.
It’s not failing to change routine tasks, routines, or routine activitiesjust it’s good self-care. You might not be able to camp for a whole week in a remote location, but could you camp nearby for a few days?
Do some research beforehand or enlist the aid of a friend who enjoys organizing if you anticipate needing transportation or could benefit from a service like Meals on Wheels. Checking on available community services beforehand will not only save you from a last-minute panic but also help you understand your options, reduce stress, and give you peace of mind and some control at a time when things may seem out of your control.
Find support that works for you.
Connecting with others going through the same thing can be really essential for some people. A monthly in-person support group, a one-time workshop, or ongoing education about nutrition, caring, self-care, or legal resources are all examples of support. Others might find it crucial to look into brief counseling with a clinical social worker.
Balance in-person and online support.
An online community can be a valuable source of support at times when you might be experiencing physical constraints or a compromised immune system due to treatment. Keep in mind that while this could be beneficial in the short term, social interaction is essential for emotional wellbeing.
Tap your community.
There are so many great local resources available to assist. Services may be useful, offer emotional support, or present chances for social interaction. The American Cancer Society website is a fantastic place to start. For a list of resources close by, enter your ZIP code. Additionally, the website can link caregivers.
You’re invited to get in touch with a social worker at your neighborhood cancer clinic. Keep in mind that extending out indicates strength, not weakness. Asking for assistance is healthy even if you would prefer to be independent.
What do patients with cancer want to hear?
Even the most independent person may require ongoing assistance from others after receiving a cancer diagnosis. rather than hearing “What should I do? Patients with cancer want to know that you have a definite aim in mind. When confronted with the broad question, many cancer sufferers would reject the need for assistance “What can I do to assist? Pick a specific project and begin working on it. There are numerous things you may do to assist, such as: