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How to Find an In-Home Caregiver for Cancer Patients

The ability to maintain residence in their own home can be a significant comfort to patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. But as the disease progresses and the patient’s needs grow, their loved ones may not have the time or the ability to provide them with the care they need. Additional care can include 24/7 supervision, assistance with personal hygiene, or even physically moving the patient in and out of bed or a wheelchair. Hiring an in-home caregiver can help your loved one maintain their standard of living while remaining home.

Benefits of an In-Home Caregiver

In cases where no family members live locally or have round-the-clock availability, an in-home caregiver can be that presence for either 24 hours a day or offer a few hours. This allows loved ones who live at home with the cancer patient to run errands, catch up with friends, handle banking, go to the doctor, or otherwise have some time to take care of themselves and maintain some normalcy in their life. Depending on the costs of in-home care and care facilities in your area, the former option may also prove to be a more cost-effective solution for the patient’s needs.

An in-home caregiver can also help preserve the relationship between a cancer patient and their family members, so that the time they spend together is enjoyable and emotionally valuable.

How to Find an In-Home Caregiver

The biggest choice to make in choosing an in-home caregiver is whether to go through an agency or to hire a caregiver directly. A care agency offers applicant screening, training, and all paperwork like payroll and taxes, and it will provide a qualified back-up caregiver in case your regular caregiver is ill or on vacation, but it may be costlier than hiring a caregiver directly.

By hiring a caregiver directly, you take on all aspects of being an employer, including payroll, taxes, and insurance. Additionally, you’ll have to find alternate help if your caregiver becomes unavailable. Despite the added work, some people prefer the flexibility, personalization, and long-term relationship building that can come with hiring a caregiver themselves.

Regardless of which option you choose, your doctor, friends, family members, and other members of your community can be excellent resources for sourcing trustworthy caregivers. You’ll want to ensure that your caregiver has excellent references; is licensed and insured; and is clear on what you want them to do, whether it’s just to “be there” or to provide more involved care.

Depending on your caregiver’s certification and your state’s laws, there may be guidelines on what medical tasks they’re able to do, such as administering medication or changing the dressing on a wound. It’s important to communicate these expectations and guidelines from the start so that everyone is on the same page. From there, continue to meet regularly to discuss concerns, problems, and/or changes to the caregiver’s responsibilities, and address problems as soon as they arise.

Paying for an In-Home Caregiver

While an in-home caregiver can be essential to easing stress, and ensuring a comfortable standard of living for your loved one, hiring such help can also be costly. A long-term care insurance policy may help offset some of the costs, but the policy criteria can be stringent. Medicare does not pay for non-medical home care and only selectively covers home health care, so many families turn to personal savings to cover the cost of in-home caregivers.

Additionally programs like Fifth Season’s Funds for Living Program help patients leverage their life insurance policies into money that can be used for end-of-life care while preserving funds for their beneficiaries in the future. If you feel Fifth Season may be able to help your family cover the costs of an in-home caregiver, contact us today or call 866-459-1271 for more information.

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