1. The most important thing for a caregiver is to be supportive and understanding. There will be times when the cancer patient may be grumpy and irritable; try to remember it is not directed at you personally.
2. Learn as much as you can about her cancer and treatment plan. Go to all medical and treatment appointments. Take notes and ask questions.
3. Make a binder and put all lab and screening test results in page protectors in that binder. Become familiar with which lab tests should be done each time. Ask the nurse or technician to check that they are on the list. Sometimes a test gets left off the orders by accident.
4. Familiarize yourself with insurance coverage and check the Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company. Sometimes a treatment is denied because the doctor did not provide the right documentation. This can be fixed quickly if you contact the doctor’s billing office.
5. Let the social worker at your hospital help. She can help resolve billing problems and also steer you toward organizations that can help with living and medical expenses or arrange fun outings.
6. Take care of yourself. You need to stay healthy and strong to help your loved one.
7. Ask for help when you need to. No one can do this alone.