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4 steps for creating a caregiving plan for someone with a serious illness

If your loved one was diagnosed with a serious illness such as mesothelioma, you understand the significant toll it can take on them. Dealing with this diagnosis can also be difficult for anyone close to your loved one, especially the caregiver.

Being a caregiver is one of the most challenging roles you can take on in your life. And it is all too common for caregivers to feel stressed.

Creating a care plan can help new caregivers feel more confident in their abilities and provide their loved one with the physical and emotional support they need after this life-changing diagnosis. Here are tips to help caregivers create a care plan.

1. Meet with your loved one's doctors

This is a critical first step. Most cancer patients can receive outpatient care from home, with regular treatment or checkups in a medical office.

That is why caregivers should meet face-to-face with any medical professionals involved in their loved one's care, such as their oncologist or regular physician, to determine:

  • What at-home care is available and what is necessary
  • How to provide that care
  • What your responsibilities are
  • What symptoms or complications to look out for
  • What you should do in an emergency

Meeting with these medical professionals helps you gather the information you need to provide the proper at-home medical care and establish a relationship of trust with your loved one's doctors.

2. Talk to your loved one

Your loved one should have a lot of say in what their care plan includes. Talk with them about the care they think they'll need and when they will need it, such as:

  • Someone to shop for food and cook meals
  • Assistance with bathing or other personal hygiene needs
  • Help around the house, from cleaning to laundry

Remember that these needs will likely change. So, ask your loved one about their needs regularly and adjust the plan accordingly.

3. Establish your team

You start this step when you speak with your loved one's doctors. However, you can also enlist the help of family members and friends to share the responsibility of caregiving. This helps ease your stress and surround your loved one with the people they care about.

4. Create a schedule

It can be helpful to create a physical document that includes:

  • The specific tasks caregivers must complete
  • A schedule for when to complete these tasks
  • Instructions about medications or other treatment

Caregiving involves a lot more than making a care plan. It involves actually executing this plan and providing emotional support to your loved one. However, a care plan can provide you with the support and information you and your loved one need.

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