Message from the Ministry of Health, Malaysia l Message from MOS l Message from Pfizer Malaysia l Home
LEARNING ABOUT CANCER
WHAT IS MY ROLE AS A CARER?
CARERS AND THE MEDICAL TEAM
CARING FOR THE PATIENT
WHEN THE PATIENT’S HEALTH FAILS
PALLIATIVE AND ADVANCED CANCER CARE
DEALING WITH PRACTICAL & PERSONAL AFFAIRS
PRACTICAL TIPS
STORIES OF HOPE
LIST OF HOSPITALS IN MALAYSIA
SUPPORT GROUPS

 
 WHEN THE PATIENT’S HEALTH FAILS

  This may happen sometimes and it is no fault of yours.

However, illness does not necessarily mean that the person you are caring for is heading for the worst. Sometimes, it could be due to your loved one’s weakened immune system and they may recover with time.

But be prepared that failing health could be a sign of more serious problems.

It may be better to discuss these details when you and your family are in a clearer and calmer state of mind; rather than try to figure out what to do when the situation actually happens.

CAN I CONTINUE TO BE A CARER?

Ask yourself:
  • Can you still care for your friend or relative in their worsening condition?
  • Do they require closer supervision than you can possibly give?
If you can carry on with your role, do so.
You may need to start considering additional support or equipment as your workload and responsibilities increase. You need to also consider how the added burden will further impact your physical and mental health.

For instance, you may also wish to contact occupational therapists for equipment or specialist staff if your loved one is suffering from hearing or sight loss or physical handicaps. If you really feel that the patient’s failing health is beyond you, there are other options.

Beyond this, there is also your loved one to consider. Inquire gently if they would feel comfortable to be shifted or use an additional support system. Instead of being very thick-headed on the decisions we are making on their behalf, it will help more if the agreement on all decisions are unison. But of course, if your loved one is hospitalised with breathing support, then it is necessary to make the decisions yourself. Approach the doctors, they would be able to counsel you on the best alternatives.

DAY CARE

A live-in maid can be hired to help attend to your loved one’s personal care such as washing, feeding, toileting, household chores and so on. Or you can get a maid to come in daily.

If you need more specialised assistance, your medical team may be able to provide recommendations. This includes retired nurses who would be able to come in a few days a week or as often as needed.

NURSING HOMES

When you begin caring, you and your loved one may cope well and may not choose a nursing or care home as an option. However, with failing health, moving to a home may be the best and only option for both of you.

Discuss it openly so that all parties are accepting of any outcome.

When choosing a home, you should consider:
  • Whether they have trained staff to care for cancer-afflicted or sick residents.
  • Location – ensure the place is near your loved one’s hospital and close enough for visits.
  • Capacity – Choose a home which is not fully occupied so there is sufficient space and staff are not too busy caring for many residents.
  • Social Factor – Sufficient social stimulation and activity will ensure your loved one is not bored or becomes depressed.
  • Financial cost – The cost of having your relative with you against having them stay at a home
  • Emotions – Feelings of guilt and separation from a family member or close friend.
  • Lack of privacy and independence, but more social company for your dear one.

HOSPICE

A hospice is designed to provide care and comfort for patients who are very ill, especially reaching the end of their life. Hospice treatment can be provided in a hospital, a special facility or at home.

The support offered comes in the form of medical treatment as well as counselling for family members and the patient. Hospice staffs are specially trained to work with people with cancer and other diseases.

In Malaysia, you can contact Hospis Malaysia for more information and assistance on hospice care. Please refer to the list of resources at the back of this booklet for their contact information.
 

 
A Community Service Project by: Malaysian Oncological Society and Pfizer Malaysia - (latest update: 24-02-2011)