East Bay CNA from Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

The Best Advice for Professional Caregivers Providing Cancer Care

group of women beating breast cancer

Sometimes, the best advice for caregivers when caring for someone with cancer is simply to be present.

Being given a diagnosis of cancer is life-changing, and having a strong network of support is vitally important. When someone in your care is undergoing cancer treatment, you may feel uncertain about how to provide the best support without overstepping boundaries or making the person feel uncomfortable for any reason. Sometimes the best advice for caregivers in this situation is the following.

  1. Be there. Simply being present, to listen, talk, and even laugh together when appropriate, can be uplifting to someone who wants to maintain a sense of normalcy in spite of the diagnosis.
  2. Pay attention to meals. Cancer treatment, such as chemo and radiation, can cause exhaustion, so it often becomes difficult to prepare meals. It can also impact how food tastes. Ask the person in your care what foods he or she might find appetizing, and then plan and prepare meals accordingly. It may take some trial and error to find what is most appealing.
  3. Find out exactly what the person needs. Many times, someone with cancer or another chronic condition will hear from friends and family, “Let me know if you need anything!” It’s then up to the person with the condition to determine what’s needed, and to reach out to those who offered. As a professional caregiver, be sure to find out specifically what will help the person. One day, it may be household chores, laundry, and meals, but on another day, he or she may want more time for companionship and fun activities to provide a welcome distraction.
  4. Become educated. Learn as much as you can about the type of cancer the person has been diagnosed with to better understand what he or she is facing. Check with trusted online resources such as the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
  5. Serve as an advocate. Help the person organize any questions and concerns before the next doctor’s appointment. If he or she wishes, attend the appointment and help make sure each one is addressed.

As the leading provider of home care services in Walnut Creek and nearby areas, Hillendale Home Care is here to help those with cancer live more comfortable lives at home. Contact us for more information and resources, or to learn about joining our team of care professionals through our CNA and HHA school.

6 Cancer Care Tips to Try When Chemotherapy Affects Appetite

Grilled chicken with fresh vegetable salad

These cancer care tips can help with appetite problems from chemotherapy.

Maintaining a healthy diet is particularly crucial for those undergoing chemotherapy or another type of cancer treatment, but one of the leading side effects stopping patients from eating well is an alteration in how foods taste. It’s important to conquer this and other hurdles to healthy eating in order to preserve the strength needed for chemo treatments and safeguard against infections. Eating a well-balanced diet may perhaps even help cancer patients better cope with greater dosages of some types of medicines.

When suffering from challenges with taste changes that interfere with adhering to an advised dietary plan during cancer treatment, you can help the clients you’re caring for with these cancer nutrition tips:

  • Experiment with various food temperatures. For some people undergoing cancer treatment, cold foods are more palatable, providing less fragrances than hot foods, which could increase feelings of nausea.
  • Try different seasonings. Marinades, herbs, and spices can make food more appealing. Several choices to try include mint, garlic, rosemary, dill, lemon and basil.
  • Pay attention to oral health. Taste buds may become inflamed by chemotherapy, and bacteria amounts may become imbalanced. Brushing the teeth with a soft toothbrush and gentle toothpaste a few times during the course of each day, and encouraging a visit with the dentist for further suggestions, can help.
  • Consume smaller portions. Smaller, more frequent meals tend to be easier to digest. Be sure to incorporate plenty of fluids, both during and between meals, as well.
  • Try gum and mints. Sugar-free gum and mints, or other flavored hard candy, can help reduce the metallic or bitter tastes in the mouth that can occur from chemotherapy treatments. They can also trigger production of saliva to soothe a dry mouth.
  • Partner with a dietitian. A professional dietitian who has a specialty in cancer nutrition can help with suggesting food choices specific to the person’s particular difficulties. He or she can also recommend suitable vitamin supplements, high-nutrition liquid shakes, etc.

For more tips to combat changes in taste or other side effects of chemotherapy, contact Hillendale Home Care’s experts in CNA and home care aide training as well as home care in Concord, CA and the surrounding area. And contact us to learn more about joining our team of caregiving professionals through our CNA and HHA school, or share with someone you know who’s interested in a rewarding career as a senior care provider!