Posts Tagged ‘mesothelioma articles’

Caring for Someone With Mesothelioma

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

When a loved one chooses to be a caregiver for another member of the family who is ill, it is often with great love and commitment that they make that choice. But providing care for someone who has mesothelioma can be a very challenging role to play. In addition to taking on activities such as scheduling mesothelioma treatment appointments, managing medications, and assisting with daily routines, you may also be needed as a source of comfort and listening, even when the victim is experiencing grief and anger. Many caregivers report experiencing overwhelm and even burnout. If you are planning to be a primary caregiver for someone who has mesothelioma, here are a few suggestions that may make your experience more manageable.

First, keep in mind that maintaining your own health is critical to providing consistent and thoughtful care to someone who has mesothelioma. Setting up your schedule to include regular meals, quality sleep, and sufficient breaks can help alleviate stress. Stress-reducing activities such as exercise, reading or prayer and meditation may also prove to be very helpful. Planning for these activities may involve hiring outside help, but the benefits of renewed energy and a refreshed outlook will make the expense well worth it.

On the subject of getting help, you may want to consider lining up one or more backup caregiver. It’s very helpful to have someone who can step in the case that you are sick or have an urgent personal matter to attend to. It also makes a difference to have someone else take over for extended periods of time so that you can have time to restore and to handle personal matters that can fall to the wayside when caring for another.

While caring for your loved one, you may have questions about mesothelioma or mesothelioma victims rights. With the combined effects of lost income, the cost of treatment, and other expenses, caring for someone with mesothelioma can become a financial burden for many families. You may want to find out whether you qualify for certain programs. For example, some insurance companies reimburse caregivers and even such things as housecleaning or other assistance. Joining a support group may also be very helpful. Taking the time to explore these resources can save time and money, as well as help maintain your health and well-being.

Palliative Care for Mesothelioma

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Victims of mesothelioma face a number of challenging symptoms that can make an already difficult process even more stressful. Fortunately, good quality palliative care may help relieve or at least manage many of these symptoms. Palliative care is care designed to make patients as comfortable as possible.

Dealing with pain is often an unfortunate part of mesothelioma. However, pain can sometimes be successfully managed with pharmacological therapy that follows the World Health Organization’s pain ladder, a stepped approach to pain medication that is based on the severity of pain and the source of the pain. A good pain management plan is an important part of mesothelioma therapy and should be designed by a pain management specialist.

Shortness of breath and fatigue are other common symptoms that can sometimes be helped through a variety of treatments. Medications and/or oxygen are sometimes used to treat shortness of breath. Relaxation, changes in position can also sometimes make a difference. Nutrition, stress management, or exercise may help alleviate fatigue, depending on the reasons behind the fatigue.

Mesothelioma patients sometimes develop dry mouth as a result of dehydration, medication or treatment side effects, depression, anxiety or dehydration. Whatever the cause, dry mouth can be relieved in a number of ways. When appropriate, increasing fluids can help. But sometimes, dry mouth persists. In that case, sucking on ice chips or Vitamin C tablets, chewing gum, or using an air humidifier can all help alleviate a dry mouth.

Loss of appetite is another common problem with patients suffering from mesothelioma. Nutrition is a big part of a mesothelioma patient’s overall well being. Loss of appetite can result in loss of weight, which can complicate and exacerbate some symptoms. Eating smaller, more frequent meals that are high in calories and protein can help maintain a patient’s balanced nutritional Intake.

Cancer patients can also encounter problems with their skin. Itchy or dry skin, rashes, sores and ulcers can all be part of a cancer patient’s reality. Drinking plenty of water and using adequate moisturizers can help dry skin. A bath filled with baking soda can sometimes reduce itching. Clean sheets and towels free from heavy detergents will help as well.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to spend some time reading our mesothelioma blog and mesothelioma articles. Being informed is one of the best strategies for planning quality palliative care.

 

Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Caring for someone who is suffering from mesothelioma can be both mentally and physically exhausting. While trying to handle your own emotional stress, you may be called upon to manage some things you had not anticipated, such as scheduling, communications with various health professionals, managing appointments for mesothelioma treatment, monitoring medications and assisting with daily routines. As a first line of assistance, you might also be called to listen, comfort or even bear the brunt of a loved one’s misplaced anger. All of this can leave caregivers experiencing overwhelming grief and burnout.

Taking care of yourself is a critical prerequisite for providing quality care. It is important that caregivers create a structure of support for themselves from the very beginning. This includes eating and sleeping regularly and paying attention to those important personal routines that can easily fall to the wayside during times of stress. Consistently taking time-off to get a much-needed break is vital for maintaining your health. Plan ahead to include stress-reducing activities such as stretching, walking, reading or prayer and meditation. In addition to relaxation, exercise can help maintain your stamina throughout the day. While arranging for these breaks may involve hiring outside help, the renewed energy and outlook are well worth the trouble.

You may also need to find answers to your own questions about mesothelioma causes or mesothelioma victim’s rights. We have a number of mesothelioma articles that you may find very helpful.

Because your involvement could take a toll on you financially, you may want to investigate programs and benefits for which you qualify. For example, some insurance programs include reimbursement for caregiving and/or outside aid, such as housecleaning or other assistance.

Most importantly, don’t forget to ask for help. There are a variety of wonderful resources, hotlines and support groups available for caregivers in any given area. When stress appears, sometimes we ignore all indications that we need help. But if you are to provide quality care for your loved one, taking care of yourself is critical.

 

 

Caring for a Loved One With Cancer

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

As a caregiver for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have taken on a role that is as generous and loving as it is challenging. When you step into this role, some advanced preparation can be of great help to both you and your loved one.

Many aspects of the care you will provide may have nothing to do with physical care. Patients will likely want to see family and loved ones, especially around important events or holidays, and you may be called upon to schedule and organize these essential visits. You may also find yourself providing encouragement and suggestions to help your loved one cope, stay busy or engage in a meaningful activity. For example, it may greatly help patients to take on a project, such as a scrapbook or diary, to help relieve stress and anxiety.

There will likely be many daily routines that require your assistance. While keeping daily routines can help your loved one’s spirits remain high, it is easy for caregivers to let their encouragement overshadow their awareness of how their loved one is really feeling. For example, while nutrition is important to patient care, it’s also important to be sensitive to the fact that the patient may at times feel discouraged or not well enough to eat. If trying to motivate someone to eat becomes a struggle, you could try smaller meals, or simply offering food again later.

If you are not already familiar with mesothelioma causes and symptoms, you might want to conduct research or talk to health professionals to better understand what your loved one is going through. Take a look at our mesothelioma articles and our mesothelioma blog

for important information and stories that could help you gain further understanding and knowledge. The more you understand the disease and know what to expect, the better you will assist your loved one. You may also consider consulting the patient’s doctors to find out what activities your loved one can participate in and recommendations about the duration and intensity of activities. This way, if your loved one feels up to trying something outside of their regular daily activities, you will be better prepared for how to respond. For more information about mesothelioma victim’s rights, contact us online or by phone at 800-723-3216.

Asbestos Exposure: Who Is At Risk?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

It is quite possible that virtually everyone will be exposed to asbestos at some point in their lifetime. Even if a person never encountered asbestos-containing materials, asbestos is present in our environment in very low levels. Nonetheless, most people will not develop an asbestos-related disease from this kind of exposure.

According to the National Cancer Institute, certain people are at a much higher risk for asbestos exposure and therefore asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. These diseases pose a greater threat to people who encounter asbestos regularly or who are exposed to extreme levels, such as the rescue workers and volunteers helping in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The collapse of the World Trade Center North Tower released several tons of asbestos into the air, potentially affecting thousands at the site and surrounding areas. This, of course, is an extreme example of acute environmental exposure. Most cases of asbestos-related disease are linked to certain industries affected by mesothelioma.

Because the risk of exposure often does not surface until many years later, the current list of high-risk jobs is different than those of the past. Obviously, workers who mine asbestos or mesothelioma linked materials that may be contaminated with asbestos are at a great risk, as well as those who work in asbestos product manufacturing.

Additionally, workers involved in the construction business are at a higher risk of ongoing exposure to asbestos-containing materials in older homes. Activities involving demolition, wall removal, popcorn ceiling removal and work in the attic, can bring a worker in contact with asbestos-containing materials. Firefighters exposed to demolished homes may also run a high risk for repeated exposure. Auto-mechanics involved with brake repair can be at risk for asbestos contact. Some studies have shown that family members of these workers can also be affected, as their loved ones bring asbestos fibers into the home on their clothes. Proximity to asbestos mines may also be a factor. There have been cases of people living near mines developing asbestos-related diseases when they had no other known source of exposure.

Government regulations have come a long way in protecting workers’ health against asbestos exposure. Yet, the potential for exposure is still very real, and the degree to which proper safety precautions are followed on the job may make all the difference in the frequency and severity of the exposure.

Certain factors can affect one’s risk of developing an asbestos-related illness. Studies have indicated that the effects of smoking and asbestos exposure combined may be far more deadly than they are separately. Also, the type of fiber, dose, duration and individual health may alter a person’s risk of developing these diseases.

If you would like to know more about asbestos and asbestos-related diseases, please visit our Mesothelioma and Asbestos FAQ or read our Mesothelioma articles.