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Cancer Support

Posted by Debby Franklin on Sep 10, 2019 12:11:43 PM

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According to the American Cancer society, more than one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year.  With those numbers, many of us will experience the disease first hand or will be close to someone affected.  Cancer patients often must simultaneously fight serious illness and manage every day demands.  Family caregivers can become overwhelmed with the emotional, physical and financial challenges posed by caring for a seriously ill loved one.

Easing the burden of routine tasks can bring enormous comfort to patient and family members.  Consider adding the services of a highly trained, professional caregiver to your family care team.

Professional caregivers can provide invaluable assistance such as:

  • Run errands including prescription pick-up and grocery shopping.
  • Light housekeeping and laundry service.
  • Transportation to physician and treatment appointments.
  • Monitoring of key vital signs and changes in condition.
  • Preparation of healthy and nutritionally balanced meals & snacks.
  • Assistance with personal care and hygiene tasks.
  • Companionship and encouragement.
  • Respite for family caregivers.

Cancer treatment and recovery can be a little easier with supportive care from the team at Easy Living Services.  We'll match your loved one with a compassionate caregiver dedicated to keeping them safe and comfortable at home.

                              Allow our team to help.  Call Easy Living today, 770-442-8664.

Atlanta Caregivers

 

Topics: caregiver, cancer, cancer support, caring for a loved one, cancer care

How You Can Help A Loved One With Leukemia?

Posted by Debby Franklin on Sep 10, 2014 12:41:00 PM

Leukemia, cancer, Leukemia can easily be overlooked because early symptoms may resemble symptoms of the flu or other common illnesses.  Leukemia symptoms can vary depending on the type of leukemia.  People often first go to the doctor because they think they have a cold, the flu or some other respiratory infection that persist and doesn’t go away. 

Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells.  Abnormal white blood cells form in the bone marrow then quickly travel through the bloodstream and crowd out healthy cells.  This increases the body’s chances of infection and other problems.

The goal of treatment for leukemia is to destroy the leukemia cells and allow normal cells to form in the bone marrow.  Treatment decisions are based on the kind of leukemia, its stage, as well as age and general health. 

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of the two is typically used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma.  Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation may also be done under special circumstances. 

Common Signs and Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Frequent Infections
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Rashes or tiny red spots in the skin
  • Sweating (often at night)
  • Headaches, balance problems

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.

What can you do when a loved one is diagnosed with Leukemia?

Be A Support    A Leukemia diagnosis can be very scary making it easy to focus on the negatives.  Your loved one is going to need to remain positive and exert a great deal of effort and energy in order to beat the cancer.  Your loved one will need your help to remain calm, focused, and to have faith and hope that a cancer free outcome is in their future. 

Be Prepared for Schedule Changes    You should be prepared for changes in your daily routine if you are going to assist your loved one throughout the treatment.  If you are working you will need to discuss with your boss about the possibility of having a flexible schedule or about taking time off.  If you have small children you will need to line up temporary back up care assistance.  It will be important to go on medical appointments with your loved one, especially at the beginning.  It may be difficult for them to process all of the information and having someone to take notes and ask questions is important.  Once treatment starts there may be side effects with nausea and diarrhea and you loved one will be weak and need a variety of assistance to remain stable. 

Try to make the main focus of your energy and attention be on the needs of your loved one.  A cancer diagnosis is not the end, it is just the beginning of a fight for which your love, support and hope will be very much needed. 

For more helpful information on cancer treatment and how to navigate through the journey, click on the link below for access to our resource center: 

 

http://easylivingservices.com/atlanta-at-home-cancer-care-resources/

Topics: cancer, cancer support, cancer care, Leukemia

Caregiver Resources: Palliative Care at Home

Posted by Jill Troman on May 16, 2013 1:33:00 PM

What comes to mind when you hear the term "Palliative Care"?  If you are like me, it's synonomous with Hospice Services.  In fact, when a nurse practitioner recently recommended it for my father, I became alarmed.  I knew Dad's COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, and Diabetes conditions were serious but felt unprepared to hear a recommendation for "Palliative Care".  That's because my understanding of the term was flawed. I believed that Pallative care  was designed to keep terminal patients "comfortable" at life's end.  Dad's conditions were serious and definitely difficult to manage but no one had labeled them as terminal.  I came to learn that Palliative care can be a vital addition to an active treatment plan for many serious and chronic diseases.  

Care at home

Are you or a loved one missing out on the benefits of Palliative Care?

With medical advances, Americans in general, are living longer.  However, many find themselves also living with chronic disease conditions.  The burden these diseases place on patient and family members can be enormous.  Where can a family turn for assistance when the chronic medical needs of a loved one are becoming difficult to manage?  For many, Palliative Care can offer patients and their families another layer of support.  

Unfortunately, many people do not take advantage of this resource due to misunderstanding of Palliative Care and its goals.  In fact, research indicates that many physicians often equate Palliative Care with Hospice and therefore, are unlikely to recommend it to patients unless they have a terminal/end stage illness.  The reality is that Palliative Care is beneficial for many patients with serious or chronic illnesses along with curative treatment. 

Palliative Care:  The Definition

"...is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.  This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness, whatever the diagnosis.  The goal is to improve quality of life for the both the patient and family.  Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patients primary doctors to provide an extra layer of support.  This care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatment."  

In short, Palliative care is NOT end of life care.  It's designed to enhance the care a patient is already receiving by improving care coordination, better managing and controlling symptoms, and helping families navigate the complexities of living with chronic disease. 

Is Palliative Care Right for Your Loved One?

Consider turning to Palliative Care for extra support if you or a family member are dealing with any of the following issues:

  • Serious illness such as Cancer, Congestive Heart Failure, COPD, Emphysema, Lung Disease, Kidney Failure, Liver Failure, Neurological Disease (ALS, Parkinson's, MS...), Dementia.
  • Unmanaged symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, depression, poor appetite, nausea, constitpation.
  • Difficult side effects from treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations for the same symptoms or conditions. 
  • Indecision regarding treatment options...needs assistance evaluating medical choices and finding necessary resources.
  • In need of assistance coping with the stress of a chronic disease and emotional or spiritual support.   

What assistance does Palliative Care include?

Patients and their families gain access to a team of professionals including physician, nurse practitioners and social workers all working together in support of the patient. The team works in concert with the patient's primary medical care team to provide assistance in reducing pain, minimizing side effects and symptoms, connecting patients with complimentary services like acupuncture or massage therapy for stress reduction, disease education and more.  While primary care physicians and specialists are typically focused on treating the disease condition, a palliative care team will devote their efforts to enhancing quality of life.  

Is Palliative Care covered under insurance plans?

With a physician's referral, pallative care is often paid under Medicare Part B, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.  Check with your plan for coverage details and applicable co-insurance fees before initiating care.   

What benefits does Palliative Care Offer?

In my Dad's case, the Palliative care team offered a great deal of education and advice for minimizing his primary concern, frequent trips to the ER and hospitalizations for CHF symptoms and complications.   The team helped us develop a detailed  "Action Plan" to better manage his symptoms.  The plan was presented as a flow chart and detailed the actions we were to take with progressive symptoms.  It really helped reduce anxiety levels for all parties and restored a feeling of control over the process.  

Additionally, Dad had so many specialists who operated independently.  It was often frustrating because there was virtually no coordination between the different physicians. Information frequently wasn't shared between offices and family members were constantly having to follow up.  It was a real relief when the Palliative Care team stepped in to coordinate medical care between the different specialities.  They assisted us in making care choices by educating us on the "pros and cons" of options.  

The team also recommended some complimentary therapies which helped alleviate some of my father's symptoms and discomfort.  Specially trained massage therapists worked to reduce swelling in extremities through lymphatic drainage.  This greatly reduced pain and improved dad's mobility.  Dad was also connected with a social worker who helped him deal with some of the anxiety associated with health conditions.  Most of these services were provided in the comfort of Dad's own residence which was a "plus" for the family.

After gaining a new understanding of Palliative care, I am now able to recommend these services to our agency's clients.   Often, Easy Living caregivers work in conjunction with Palliative Care providers to maximize the quality of life for clients with dealing with serious disease conditions.  

Interested in learning more?   Call Easy Living Services today at
770-442-8664.  We're pleased to help in any way possible. 

Topics: aging, homecare, dementia, cancer care, Diabetes, Atlanta Caregivers, Cardiovascular Disease, chronic disease, Hearing Impaired Seniors, terminal illness, COPD

Helping A Loved One With Cancer

Posted by Debby Franklin on Oct 5, 2012 1:27:00 PM

cancer, caring for a love one with cancerCancer can be one of the most terrifying words in our language.  A person who has been diagnosed with cancer is faced with the harsh realities of fighting a difficult battle while knowing that it may be a battle that can't be won.  Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t just affect the person who has been diagnosed, families become victims too.  Over and above the tremendous emotional distress that cancer causes, the family fighting the disease carries other burdens including lost income and medical costs.

Family and friends have the best intentions, but family and friends can be overwhelming to someone facing cancer with their research efforts.  Family and friends can be overly enthusiastic in advocating aggressive treatment without fully understanding the side effects and outcomes.  However our family and friends are crucial to survival.  Numerous studies have correlated cancer survival with social contacts.  Knowing your limits is important.  It is ok to take a rest and regroup.   Set your priorities and acknowledge your limitations.

As a leading provider of experienced caregivers in Atlanta, Easy Living Services has worked with hundreds of families suffering through cancer. As a result of our experiences, we would like to share the following insights:

Managing Cancer:  10 Key Points

  1. Cancer treatment is often invasive, physically and emotionally draining and very scary for the person going through it.
  2. Families can never understand what their loved one is going through, emotionally and physically. You can’t fix their problems, but you can listen and be understanding.
  3. Taking care of a loved one with cancer may involve great sacrifices, such as quitting a job or making up for their lost income.
  4. Families that maintain positive attitudes and steadfast support are the most successful in navigating the cancer journey.
  5. People with cancer don’t want to feel helpless, even when they may be. Treating them as such, even with the most caring intentions, may make things worse.
  6. Families with cancer loved ones need answers as much as the person who is dealing with this disease. Forums, friends and support groups can provide comfort and understanding.
  7. Reach out for help if needed.  Professional caregiver services as well as friends, family and your church or synagogue are valuable resources.
  8. Accompany your loved one to a doctor’s visit. It may be difficult, but not nearly as difficult as it will be for your loved one. They will sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  9. Cancer isn’t pretty.  Make your loved one feel beautiful inside with your thoughtfulness and caring. Never be ashamed to take them with you, even when they may look terrible.  The fight and its appearance should be construed as a badge of courage.
  10. Cancer is everyone’s fight. Participate in walks, events and fundraisers. You never know when this effort may end up helping you.

For more helpful information on cancer treatment and how to navigate through the journey, click on the link below for access to our resource center: 

http://easylivingservices.com/atlanta-at-home-cancer-care-resources/

 

Atlanta Caregivers

Topics: cancer, cancer support, caring for a loved one, cancer care