miércoles, 1 de junio de 2016

Long Distance Caregiving

Coping – Long Distance Caregiving - National Cancer Institute

Even if you live far away from a loved one with cancer, it's possible for you to give support and help solve problems and coordinate care. Find information about managing the needs of long distance caregivers.
National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute

Long Distance Caregiving

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Girl on her Phone
It can be really tough to be away from a loved one who has cancer. You may feel like you're a step behind in knowing what is happening with his or her care. Yet even if you live far away, it's possible for you to give support and be a problem-solver and care coordinator.
Caregivers who live more than an hour away from their loved ones most often rely on the telephone or email as their communication link. But either of these methods can be rather limiting when trying to assess someone's needs. Aside from true medical emergencies, long-distance caregivers often need to judge whether situations can be dealt with over the phone or require an in-person visit.
Our family is spread throughout the U.S., so it's hard to have a hands-on experience. But the phone calls have increased, with them calling to say, 'I love you, and what can I do for you?' Even though there isn't much they can do to help me with Mom, just to have family call more has made it a little better.

Finding Contacts

Develop a relationship with one or two key members of the health care team, such as a social worker or patient educator. It may help you feel more at ease to have direct contact with someone involved in the medical care of your loved one. Also, many long-distance caregivers say that it helps to explore both paid and volunteer support. Ways you can do this are:
  • Create a list of people who live near your loved one whom you could call day or night in a crisis or just to check in.
  • Look into volunteer visitors, adult day care centers, or meal delivery services in the area.
  • Make a list of web sites in your loved one's area to give you quick access to resources.
  • Keep a copy of the local phone book available for reference.
Remember to share a list of home, work, and cell phone numbers with the health care team. You should also give this to loved ones and others in case of an emergency.

Other Tips

  • Ask a local family member or friend to update you daily by email. Or, consider creating a web site to share news about your loved one's condition and needs. There are a number of sites available. Examples are Caring Bridge and Lotsa Helping Hands.
  • Talk to electronic or computer experts to learn about other ways to connect with people. New advances using video and the Internet are being made every day. For example, Skype and Facetime are ways people connect from a distance.
  • Airlines or bus lines may have special deals for patients or family members. The hospital social worker may also know of other resources, such as private pilots, advocacy organizations, or companies that help people with cancer and their families with transportation.
  • If you are traveling to see your loved one, time your flights or drives so that you have time to rest when you return. Many long-distance caregivers say that they don't allow themselves enough time to rest after their visits.
  • Consider getting a phone card from a discount store to cut down on long-distance bills. Or, review your long-distance and cell phone plans. See if you can make any changes that would reduce your bills.

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