Regional Cancer Center ~ Erie, PA

Additional Tips For Caregivers

Tips For Caregivers

Get the facts.

Learn as much as you can about the type of cancer your loved one has, including potential health issues and how to handle pain.

Encourage your loved one to manage discomfort before it gets bad.

Try to manage pain as it starts, so medication won't need to play "catch-up." Always have sufficient medication on hand to control nausea and other side effects of cancer treatment. Your loved one's doctor can determine a good medication schedule and provide tips.

Keep germs away.

People with cancer have impaired immune systems, and are more susceptible to illness. Play "germ police" for your loved one – advise sick visitors to stay home; keep and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Keeping the patient as healthy as possible during treatment is the best way to a speedy recovery.

Respect privacy.

Dont' just barge in on your loved one – respect their need to be alone, be discrete about when to share information and with whom (always ask first), and respect their decisions. This is your loved one's body, and their live.

Take a step back.

Don't assume your loved one needs you for everything. Ask if he or she needs help before giving it. Chances are, you'll know when you are needed.

Fight boredom.

Cancer treatment and recovery often requires home rest or bed rest – but this does not mean you can't have fun! Help alleviate the doldrums with movies, books, or games. Sometimes even the smallest distractions can make someone's day better.

Honor quiet moments.

At times, it may seem like quiet is hard to come by. Soft music, aromatherapy (when tolerable) and warm baths offer much in the way of comfort – for both you and the patient.


Listening and asking questions can be some of the greatest ways to take care of your loved one. Sometimes just letting them "vent" is very helpful. Other times, you can speak up when your loved one is too weak, or listen to the doctors' advice when they may not be able.

Learn More!

When someone is facing a serious illness others around them can feel helpless. In fact, there are practical ways to help. Download 25 Practical Tips to Help Those Facing a Serious Illness to learn more.

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