Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that infects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. It is caused by exposure to asbestos and may take many years to develop. Mesothelioma symptoms often do not appear until late into the progression of the disease, making it difficult to diagnose. When patients receive a diagnosis, they are often left with limited treatment options and a short life expectancy. Most patients will need some type of care, and their care needs may increase as their condition worsens.
Who Cares for Mesothelioma Patients?
While professional caregivers can be hired to manage a patient’s needs, caregiving responsibilities often fall to a family member. If the patient has a spouse, they will often take on the primary caregiver role. Most mesothelioma patients are older adults, so adult children may also have a prominent role in a patient’s care. Siblings may be called on to lend a hand as well; it is rare for parents to be involved, given the age of the typical patient, but they may provide care if they are in a position to do so. Depending on the patient’s close relationships, their friends may become caregivers.
There are certain tasks that caregivers may have to assist with, including the patient’s personal care. Patients may not have the energy or ability to cook for themselves, so caregivers may need to handle their grocery shopping and prepare meals. Cleaning, taking out trash and recycling, laundry, and other tasks will also need to be done regularly, while seasonal tasks, like yard work, will need to be looked after. Caregivers can also help handle administrative matters, such as paying bills.
Patients may have rigorous treatment schedules to keep up with, which can include scheduling and providing transportation to frequent appointments. Caregivers make sure patients have the medication they need and take them at the right times, as well as monitor the patient’s condition and manage other at-home care. Patients undergoing intense chemotherapy or surgery may have different needs during recovery. Mesothelioma patients who are bedridden also have specific care requirements, such as needing to be turned frequently to avoid bedsores.
Legal Role of a Caregiver
If a patient is seriously impaired, it may be necessary to assign a power of attorney to one or more caregivers. A power of attorney can empower a caregiver to interface with doctors, help with health care planning, and make medical decisions when needed. Caregivers can also be given authority to manage a patient’s finances and act on their behalf in dealing with insurance or handling other legal matters. Caregiving can also include end-of-life planning, such as estate planning or making funeral arrangements. If the patient has a do-not-resuscitate order, it may be up to the caregiver to ensure that certain wishes are carried out.
Perhaps a caregiver’s most important role is emotional support. Mesothelioma treatment can be a trying experience, and most patients have a short life expectancy. This takes an emotional toll, and patients need to listen and comfort them during this time. Caregivers may also be tasked with keeping others informed about their loved one’s condition.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Provide Comprehensive Representation to Mesothelioma Patients and Their Caregivers
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. We will work tirelessly to hold those accountable for your asbestos exposure responsible, so that you can focus on your treatment. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help mesothelioma patients and their loved ones throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.