Ten Ways to Care for the Caregiver
FOCUS on Oncology
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Cancer is a twenty-four hour affair. As with other long term illnesses,
you may become emotionally drained as you care for your child and worry
anout the changes that may occur in him or her. But your child's
well-being depends directly on your well-being. You can take care
of yourself by:
- Arrange for planned time away from the the task of twenty-four
hour care. Do things just for you!
- Share your problem with anyone who will listen. There is a lot of
benefit from talking with other parents or someone who is familiar with
- Avoid isolation, as it may lead to depression. Invite a neighbor
or friend to the hospital or join a club. DO NOT cut off ties to
non-cancer related activities because "you don't have time."
- Find additional help in caring for the patient, which can mean home
care in helping you care for the patient and help with chores around the
- Obtain legal counsel to address financial concerns.
- Visit the doctor yourself, regularly. Being assertive in getting
the information that you need for the patient. You may wish to bring
along a list of questions to ask the physician. Don't leave until you
have received understandable answers you feel confident to share with
others. You should enter these questions & answers (suitably dated with
their occurrence) in your diary of patient care.
- Take time off. A well-deserved and needed vacation should take
place with the whole family.
- Include the patient (particularly a child) in daily activities, even
if all they can do is watch.
- Talk with other families and members in a support group.
- Stay positive and remember life is precious.
Frequently Asked Questions
National Cancer Institute