Wanda Gonzalez/ Challenges Of Caring

To face the challenges of taking care of a patient, start by evaluating all your options as a caregiver. Then, find a way to take care of yourself while providing care.

The challenges of caring for a patient can include the following:

  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Less time for personal and family life
  • Need to balance work responsibilities with those of patient care
  • Financial stress
  • Lack of privacy
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness

Focusing on the rewarding aspects of patient care can also help:

Attention shows the sick person that you are committed to providing all possible help and support.

  • It makes a difference in the quality of life and well-being of the ill person.
  • It gives you a unique opportunity to develop or renew a relationship with the sick person.
  • Care helps set a pattern of respect and care for other family members, regardless of their situations.

Share responsibilities

Key messages:

  • It is essential that you speak openly and set clear expectations when sharing patient care tasks.
  • Allow family members to help in any way they can, based on their abilities, lifestyles, and schedules.
  • Consider seeking outside help from friends, relatives, and volunteer organizations.

Possible conflicts

Possible sources of conflict between family members who care for a patient include:

Unequal distribution of care tasks. Typically, a family member is placed at the head of the care of the person with cancer. Handles most of the patient care tasks alone. This situation can lead the caregiver to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and resentful, and the other members of the family feel displaced.

Disagreements in decisions about patient care. There may be differences of opinion about financial, medical and daily care decisions.

Differences in the way to face the challenges. Family members may react in different ways about their responsibilities in caring for the sick and may have different ways of coping with their emotions.

Recall in old family roles. The relationship between family members can sometimes return to the way it was before when they were all younger. For example, siblings may notice that they begin to face conflicts similarly as they did when they were younger. Or a family member can take on too many tasks and feel resentful toward others who are doing less.