Support at home for you and your family

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 community nursing support

Your GP manages your healthcare when you are at home. They can help with any medical problems that come up. They can also make referrals to a community service for you. The availability of the different community services may vary, depending on where you live.

Community physiotherapist

Community physiotherapists can help you regain your strength and mobility. You may have exercises to do each day or a programme of exercises to follow. They can also help with managing pain.

Community occupational therapist

The community occupational therapist can help you to return to everyday activities. They may suggest aids to use in your home to keep you safe and as independent as possible.

Community speech and language therapist

Your speech may change after some cancer treatments involving the head and neck. A community speech and language therapist can help you with your communication.

Community dietitian

The community dietitian can help you cope with eating problems. They can suggest ways of dealing with diet difficulties.

Eating problems can be difficult to cope with. They can cause tension within relationships or families. Events and eating out with friends can be much harder when you have difficulty eating. Talking to your dietitian or a counsellor can help.

It is important to get help as soon as you start to have problems.

Community or district nurse

These nurses work in different places in your local area and may visit you in your home. They 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 nurse

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 nurse

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 in your home to give your carers a break.

Social workers

Social workers can help to support you with your situation at home. They 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.

Cancer Research UK nurses

For support and information, you can call the Cancer Research UK information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They can give advice about who can help you and what kind of support is available.

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