lynx picture  

CancerLynx - we prowl the net
September 23, 2007

Achieving Optimal Care for Cancer Patients
Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD

Achieving Optimal Care
Emotional Effects on Family and Friends
List of supportive care groups and resources

Achieving Optimal Care
Back to the Table of Contents

A meeting with family members to discuss your medical status, financial status, and your wishes for end-of-life care can be very helpful in assuring that your wishes will be carried out to your satisfaction. Often, many members of the family are living far away and can only make periodic visits as time becomes available.

Keeping close contact with family members and friends offers great support not only from visits, but also phone calls, web, Internet and correspondence as ways of supporting patients through the various crises, problems throughout therapy, and following cancer therapy during recovery and post recovery.

Often, family members plan supportive visits on a schedule to provide a total support program, including activities both social and medical, as well as visits offering comfort care. Often, one or two members of a family take charge and organize a family and friend support program. This helps reduce some of the fear, worry, and concerns during this period of uncertainty that can strain a patient's emotions. By learning a little bit about each person's needs can often provide a more comprehensive physical and psychological supportive program that can help resolve problems and afford peace of mind.

Often, a life tape of a patient's and family's history helps uncover hidden emotions and problems that can be resolved. There may be emotional injuries and misunderstandings within a family or with people one has dealt with in life, and if these can be resolved, this helps strengthen peace of mind and can help resolve hidden anxieties and psychological pain.

Emotional Effects on Family and Friends
Back to the Table of Contents

It is not easy to provide care for many cancer patients, as their problems may be minimal or extensive, depending on the degree of psychological and physical disability that has occurred because of the cancer and its treatments. Some patients are so debilitated, full-time help is necessary to achieve optimal care. This is a challenge that can be met through an organized program and accepting help as needed.

By providing a nutritious diet, an exercise program, education and information as needed can help provide supportive care for the patient, and, at the same time, family and friends may also need supportive care in order to carry out their duties in an optimal manner. The caregivers also often need supportive care, and the medical team, nurses, and social workers can help direct caregivers with their supportive care. Promoting rest periods, adequate sleep and emotional support helps provide better coping with cancer and promotes emotional well-being.

It is often difficult for the cancer patient, as well as the caregiver, to learn optimal coping mechanisms, and psychological and emotional support helps decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as provides encouragement, for the help is necessary and often under very difficult circumstances.

Thus, psychological supportive help for patient, family and friends can often make a difficult situation - (caring for a cancer patient) - not only feasible but a very gratifying process through a joint sharing of responsibility between the patient, family, friends and medical team.

Often, analyzing a situation of caring and coping can be done through what is known as the Benjamin Franklin system: By drawing a line down the middle of the paper and listing ways of solving problems on the right side of the page, and on the left side of the line, a list of problems, and then trying to summarize creative thoughts that may help provide information that could lead to solutions.

It is also important in supportive care for those who have a religious or spiritual inclination to have clergy or spiritual supportive care. Whether this involves attending church, a synagogue, a mosque, or finding a community of spirituality in life, nature, or through one's own spiritual resources can make a difference no matter what your religion is or your spiritual inclination.

If emotional problems become overwhelming, it is wise to obtain professional counseling from a psychiatrist, psychologist or a medical social worker, who can provide avenues to promote coping and ways of living with cancer.

It is important to be willing to accept help, which can reduce fear, anxiety, and depression and thus improve quality of life.

List of supportive care groups and resources
Back to the Table of Contents

Patient Advocate Foundation - 1-800-532-5274
National Association for Homecare and Hospice - 1-800-547-7424
Hospice Foundation of America - 1-800-584-3402
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization - 1-800-658-8898
Cancer Care - 1-800-813-4673
The Wellness Community - 1-800-793-9355
You Are Not Alone A Practical Guide for Maintaining Your Quality of Life While Living with Cancer

Reprinted by permission from

You are welcome to share this © article with friends, but do not forget to include the author name and web address. Permission needed to use articles on commercial and non commercial websites. Thank you.

one one pawprintWhat do you think? one pawprint

lynx kitten picture