Hope And Healing: 7 Reasons Skilled Nursing Care At An Assisted Living Facility Is Best For Elderly Cancer Patients
Cancer at any age can be a devastating diagnosis, but when it strikes an already-vulnerable elderly person, the situation is even more precarious and intense. While there are many different ways a family can approach treatment, there are many reasons the skilled nursing care of an assisted living facility is best.
1. Cancer Treatment Doesn't Follow A Schedule
Depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated, chemo can follow a very chaotic schedule, making it difficult for family members to look after the patient throughout the process. With a skilled nursing team at assisted living, no matter how the treatment cycles are scheduled, the patient will always have highly skilled professionals to help them.
2. Chemo Has Major Side Effects
Caring for someone going through chemo is hard, but the success of the rest periods is vital to maintaining the most appropriate chemo schedule. Therefore, when the patient is between treatments and their body is recovering from side effects, they may need intense care, particularly with nutrition. Battling through these rest periods allows a patient to gather strength for the next cycle and to give themselves the best chance at success. Skilled nursing helps in a multitude of ways:
- Overseeing the intake of vital medications.
- Handling IV treatments, which often include antibiotics.
- Taking care of injections.
- Following a nutritional guideline that is essential to the patient's well-being.
- Addressing personal hygiene needs.
- Communicating essential information to the medical team.
3. Other Conditions Need Monitoring In The Meantime
Many elderly patients face the challenge of managing multiple conditions or diseases, and when you add cancer and chemo to that mix, the burden of care is extraordinary. Diabetes, for example, which affects more than 25 percent of the elderly in America, becomes significantly more difficult to manage during chemo treatments, as the steroids prescribed for the associated nausea increase the glucose levels of the patient. Such complicated circumstances are best managed by an on-site medical professional, as can be found at an assisted living facility with skilled nursing care.
4. Cancer Changes People, Especially The Elderly
Any type of cancer can change a person, along with the level of care they need following treatment. Especially if surgery is involved, the body may be slow to heal, without ever returning to its previous state of strength. This presents a challenge to patients and their families, who might have expected their lives to go back to normal at some point, when in reality, long-term care and monitoring are actually required. An assisted living facility allows for independence and individuality, with a home-like feel to it, only with the specialized care a skilled nursing program can provide.
5. Assisted Living Offers A Continuous Home Environment
An elderly cancer patient opting to live with family members or stay in their own home while undergoing treatment is likely to be moving around a lot, as the treatments take their toll and subsequent recovery becomes necessary. Going back and forth between the hospital, doctor's appointments, and home or a family member's home can be exhausting. With the commitment to an assisted living facility, care can come to the patient, alleviating much of the stress and strain of transport and travel.
6. Families Endure A Lot When A Member Has A Serious Disease
As much as a family may want to strive to care for their own, housing an elderly loved one who is going through the ordeal of cancer is overwhelming. Despite the best intentions, most households aren't equipped for the level of care required, nor are they prepared for the emotional assault this disease levels on them. Everyone involved needs strength, relief from stress, and a healthy routine themselves to support the elderly family member as they go through treatment and recovery, and that's all more feasible when the patient is in the care of professionals.
7. Assisted Living May Be Temporary Or Permanent
During cancer treatment, the intense care needed is available at an assisted living facility; however, should the patient experience a strong-enough recovery to return to their own home or move in with family members, assisted living can be temporary. Since it's also available on a permanent basis, these heavy and important decisions can be made at the time all information becomes available to the family, meaning the arrangement can be there when you need it and there indefinitely, if circumstances warrant it. Assisted living facilities enable residents the ability to transform a residential "unit" into a comfortable and cozy place they can call home, bringing many of the things in life they hold dear.
A diagnosis of cancer is often a family affair, and as such, the decisions affecting care should be made with everyone in mind. While the focus is on the patient and helping them heal, hope rests in the support and involvement of the family that loves them.