You might need some care and support at home due to cancer or its treatment. A lot of practical and emotional support is available to you.
GP and nursing support
Contact your GP for help with any medical problems that come up when you're at home. They can also make referrals to nursing services for you. There are different types of nursing services.
District nurses can:
- give medicines or injections
- check temperature, blood pressure and breathing
- clean and dress wounds
- monitor or set up drips
- give emotional support
- teach basic caring skills to family members where needed
- get special equipment, such as commodes or bed pans
Community specialist palliative care nurses
Community specialist palliative care nurses include Macmillan nurses and hospice nurses. They specialise in advice about pain control, sickness and other symptoms of cancer. They also give emotional support to you and your carers.
Marie Curie nurses
Marie Curie nurses give nursing care to people with advanced cancer in their own homes. They can visit during the day or spend the night to give your carers a break.
The stoma nurse
Stoma nurses are experienced in looking after stomas (ileostomies and colostomies) and teaching you how to look after them. A specialist nurse will visit you on the ward to show you what to do. For the first few days after your operation the stoma nurse will help you look after and clean the stoma, and change the bags. They will also help you to find which type of stoma bag is the best for you.
The stoma nurse will see you on the day of the operation. They use a pen to mark where a stoma might be created. For the first few days after your operation the stoma nurse will help you look after and clean the stoma, and change the bags. They will also help you to find which type of stoma bag is the best for you.
Your stoma nurse will give you stoma bags to take home. You get more from the chemist or a local stockist. Supplies are free, but you need a prescription from your GP.
Social workers can arrange:
- home helps to help with shopping or housework
- home care assistants for washing and dressing
- meals on wheels
- respite care
Your social worker can also help with money matters by checking you get all the benefits you are entitled to. Or they can advise you about charity grants for things like extra heating costs or special diets.
Contact a social worker yourself by getting in touch with your local social services office. Or ask your hospital nurse or your GP to refer you.
Local support services
There are many other sorts of help you can get. Services vary from place to place.
Sometimes local voluntary groups offer sitting services. Someone comes to stay with you while your relative goes out.
Good neighbour schemes offer befriending or practical help with shopping or transport.
Local cancer support groups often offer practical help. And they are a good source of information about services in your area. Ask your doctor or nurse about local groups.