Many people who are battling cancer spend considerable time at hospitals that specialize in cancer care. However, when it becomes clear that your battle with cancer is one that you will not win, you might wish to think about going back home to spend your final weeks or days. Before you go, however, there will be many important discussions to have with your doctor and care team so that no topic is overlooked. You'll also want to consult your family members to gauge their involvement in your care. Here are some topics to make sure that you discuss:
Managing your pain is critical during your final days as a cancer patient. At a cancer clinic, staff will carefully manage your pain with pain medication administered intravenously. Before you can make plans to return home, your care team will need to come up with a comprehensive plan for managing this pain. It's unconventional to hand out the painkillers that may be necessary to patients returning home, but so your care team might consider something such as a portable infusion pump, which is hooked up to your body and can administer medication at regular intervals or even when you need a dose.
Some patients are able to get around right until the end, while others will be confined to their beds for the remainder of their days. In each case, and especially in the latter scenario, you'll need to discuss a plan for home care. Sometimes, family members can provide the care that you need in terms of helping you to the bathroom, bathing you, and providing food. However, there may be some tasks that your loved ones aren't able to address, which means that you'll need to arrange home care either through the cancer center or independently.
Some cancer patients will need a variety of medical equipment if they wish to return home to live out their final days. If you're in this situation, you probably won't have much of an idea about what you'll need, so you should get a list from your caregivers at the cancer center. Some clinics may have a medical equipment rental department that can address your needs, while others will refer to you to a private business in the community from which you can rent things such as mobility aids and even a hospital bed to replace your bed at home.
Contact a cancer treatment center for more information and assistance.
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