Caring for and comforting someone who is ill can sometimes be difficult; this is especially true when that person receives such a serious diagnosis. Knowing the right thing to say, knowing how to best provide care and support -- these are tough calls for anyone, but there are some general tips that can help you.
Offering Comfort to Mesothelioma Patients
One of your first questions might be, "What do I say?" It's normal to worry about saying the right or wrong thing. Offering an apology and letting them know that you're there for them is a simple but effective way to comfort someone who has been diagnosed.
It can also be helpful to learn more about the disease so that you can continue to provide support. Understanding the prognosis, treatment options, and litigation opportunities can allow you to talk with your loved one about the next steps and ongoing situations.
You don't have to offer platitudes or dismiss their fears -- your loved one likely understands what their prognosis is -- but you can be realistic and optimistic. Prompt treatment can alleviate some symptoms and help to slow cancer's spread. Patients who receive treatment can have a good quality of life. Treatment options for mesothelioma have increased greatly in recent years, from chemotherapy and radiation therapy to immunotherapy and clinical trials.
Additional ways to provide ongoing support include:
- Asking them what you can help with
- Just listening when they need to talk, vent, or cry
- Checking in often
- Helping make decisions or research additional options
- Going to doctor appointments with them
The very best way to offer comfort to mesothelioma patients is just to be there for them when they need you. Being emotionally supportive, helping with day-to-day tasks, and being available for companionship are effective ways to help your loved one through difficult times.
Providing Care for Mesothelioma Patients
If you have the task of giving long-term and/or live-in care for someone with mesothelioma, it's helpful to first understand the kinds of mesothelioma symptoms they are experiencing. Some might simply be uncomfortable, while others might be more debilitating. Go to doctor's appointments with them so you understand what kinds of things will be helpful to alleviate symptoms.
Going to all medical appointments with your loved one is crucial. Oftentimes patients are overwhelmed by all the information provided, so you can be there to take notes, hear what the medical professional says, and ask any questions for clarification. And asking questions is a great way to help your loved one. Write down any that come up before the appointment so that you remember to get everything answered.
Every patient is different, and every mesothelioma is different. The level of care your loved one needs will depend on which stage the mesothelioma is at, what kind of cancer they have, and what exactly is needed at the time. This will all be discussed by doctors, but some general care tips for anyone include:
- Offering comfort as we discussed above
- Being available for rides, day-to-day help, and emotional support
- Monitoring your loved one's health
- Asking what they need and offering specific help
- Researching treatment options, helping make decisions, and learning as much as possible
- Joining a support group and/or encouraging them to join one
- Take care of yourself so that you can continue to help provide care
Offering care, support, and encouragement to someone who has mesothelioma isn't so different from doing the same for anyone who is ill. Just being there and providing consistent support and love makes all the difference.
To learn more about how Cooney and Conway help those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, visit our page here or give us a call at 800-322-5573.