Home Care and the Lung Cancer Patient

Home care is available for cancer patients in all stages of their disease, be it home health or hospice care. The majority of those patients are battling lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that over 140,000 people will die from lung cancer this year, making it by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.

The prognosis for lung cancer can vary widely depending on the cancer type and the stage it is in when diagnosed. Lung cancer may be incurable, but it is almost always treatable. Home health care works with cancer patients who are home bound to provide supportive care and help with the activities of daily living.

Home health also provides help with:

  • Explaining the disease process

  • Counseling for patients and their families

  • Managing patient care

  • Observing treatment progress and advising when adjustments are needed

  • Educating about safety in daily activities and emergencies

  • Monitoring medications

  • Evaluating nutritional needs

Lung cancer patients typically have a team of doctors and specialists working together to eradicate their cancer. This collaboration usually consists of: thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, palliative care physicians, and medical and radiation oncologists.

Much in that same way, hospice uses a team approach to treat patients. Hospice teams are made up of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, therapists, volunteers, and chaplains. A cancer patient is generally eligible for hospice care when treatments are no longer effective, and their disease is determined likely to follow its normal path of progression.

Hospice care focuses on quality of life for the patient as well as their family. They minimize patient discomfort through symptom and pain management, while providing respite care, emotional support, and bereavement counseling for family members.

Reach out to the oncologists and cancer treatment centers in your service area with information on how partnering with home health and hospice can improve the quality of care for their cancer patients.

Help your referring partners address the many misinterpretations about hospice and the services they provide for terminally ill patients and their families by visiting the tagwebstore.com : The Real Truth About Hospice Flyer.

World Lung Cancer Day is right around the corner…

August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day … Share your expertise in patient care as you promote lung health.  As health care providers, you undoubtedly understand the close relationship between COPD and lung cancer, but most people don’t realize the close association. COPD and lung cancer share similar symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, or repeated episodes of pneumonia. The cross-over in symptoms between chronic lung disorders and lung cancer can contribute to the cancer going undetected until it is in an advanced stage.

This is where you come in: The frequency of home health assessment provides COPD patients with an added level of monitoring.  With these consistent evaluations home health nurses can recognize symptom changes that might indicate the presence of lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer: Fatigue • Loss of appetite • Unexplained weight loss • Chest pain unrelated to coughing • Hoarseness • Coughing up blood

Here are some ideas to raise lung health awareness in your community:

  • Volunteer to lead a COPD support group in your community. Connecting your home care services with these groups will allow them to better understand the options available through all types of home care services.
  • Distribute to your community informative brochures that list the symptoms, causes and risk factors for COPD, as well as the services your agency provides.
  • Sponsor a Lunch and Learn at a local respiratory therapist’s office and introduce your agency’s services.
  • Provide your referral network with informative material on effective smoking cessation options. Be sure to include your agency’s many COPD-related home health services.
  • Arrange to visit local schools to provide information on lung health:
  1. DON’T Smoke!
  2. Exercise to breathe harder. When you exercise your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder which increases lung efficiency and strength.
  3. Avoid exposure to pollutants such as second-hand smoke, air pollution, and automobile exhaust, and have your home tested for radon.
  4. Stay healthy to avoid infection by washing your hands, avoiding crowds during cold & flu season, taking the flu vaccine annually, and asking your doctor if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.
  5. Practice deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity and function.

Visit www.tagwebstore for all your Home Health and Hospice Communication Essentials