The caregiver's role and needs
Caregiver's needs and emotional burden
Being a caregiver for a loved one with a serious illness such as head and neck cancer is very difficult and can be physically and emotionally taxing. It can be extremely hard to watch the person suffer especially if there is little that they can do to reverse the illness. Caregivers should, however, realize the importance of what they are doing even when they get no or little appreciation.
Places where a caretaker can turn for support include:
- Family members or friends who will listen without judgment
- Your church, temple, or other place of worship
- Caregiver support groups at a local hospital or online
- A therapist, social worker, or counselor
- National caregiver organizations
- Organizations specific to your family member’s illness or disability
The patient's needs
- Assist with daily errands and tasks such as shopping, doing chores or providing transportation to medical appointments.
- Help in preparing meals and feed the patient if needed.
- Assist in daily hygiene (taking a bath, washing hands etc)
- Assist in providing medical care, including administering oral medication.
- Help in managing administrative issues such as medical insurance reimbursement.
- Providing emotional support and assisting in obtaining professional help if needed.
- Accompany the patient to medical appointments and assist in making medical decisions about treatment and testing choices.
- Help in solving problem by exploring options and making decisions.
- Help in childcare responsibilities.
The impact of a total laryngectomy on the patient's spouse or partner
Laryngectomy can effect the patients and partners in a different way. Partners may develop anxiety, fear and concern about the potential death of the laryngectomee and feelings of irritation in social settings. Partners can sometimes become overprotective, which may have a negative impact on their relationship with the laryngectomee. Some partners may be more vulnerable to negative impact of the laryngectomy on their individual psychosocial well-being. These include female partners, those with a lower educational background and older partners.