Care Guide:

Caring for a Loved One with Cancer at Home in Singapore

Home Care is an option for cancer patients to recuperate or spend their last few days in the comfort of their home. At Jaga-Me, we aim to optimize our patient’s quality of life and empower caregivers in providing care for their loved ones. Find out how you can care better for your loved one with cancer in the comforts of your home.

cancer-patient-home-care-singapore-jaga-me

Lifestyle Change: Cancer Patients

Cancer is a disease that happens when there is abnormal cell growth in our body. Without immediate treatment, it can lead to death.

Cancer patients will have to adapt to a new daily routine of countless medical appointments, trips to the hospital and experiencing side effects from treatment. With countless changes happening, home care services can step in to provide some sense of familiarity in your life. Jaga-Me offers home respite care and professional nursing procedures. With Jaga-Me’s Home Care Services, spending your time recuperating in the comfort of your home is an option.

Back to contents ↑

How to Manage the Side Effects of Cancer?

Pain

  • Cancer pain can be managed through pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. Seek help from your loved one’s nurse/doctor immediately if pain worsens or persists.
  • Pain medications are administered based on the level of pain your loved one is experiencing. If you or your loved one need help in administering pain medication through injections, you can find out more about Jaga-Me’s clinical procedure services here.

Hair Loss

  • Hair loss is an inevitable side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
  • Provide emotional support for your loved one if they need a listening ear. It is important for cancer patients to seek emotional support or confide in a counsellor.
  • Other alternatives you or your loved one can try out are wigs, scarves or hats. Try and see which option fits you or your loved one best!

Back to contents ↑

Need help with caring for your loved one?

We’re here to help. Get care for your loved ones at home with our caregiving services, or get assistance from our nurses for professional medical procedures.

How to Eat Healthy During Chemotherapy?

No Appetite / Weight Loss

  • Try eating small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Make the food more appealing by arranging them in smaller portions and on a smaller dining ware.
  • Avoid water or soup before every meal as this will cause a sense of fullness.
  • Add melted butter, oil or other fats to the food. This will help pack in more calories (energy).
  • Encourage your loved one to eat more protein and calorie-rich foods like full-fat dairy products (red/green/baked beans, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, meat, chicken and fish)  to help increase their weight.
  • Other high-calorie snacks options you can consider are creamy soups, custards, jellies, puddings and dessert powders (these are easy to prepare).
  • Consider nutritional supplements if your loved one is not eating enough. Speak to their doctor, nurse or dietician to explore other options.

Nausea  

  • Take anti-nausea medications and drink more fluids when he/she is experiencing nausea or vomiting bouts to prevent dehydration.
  • If your loved one is experiencing nausea, you may want to try offering food that is at room temperature or cold.
  • Ensure that they don’t skip meals and snacks. Even if they do not have the appetite, they should eat a small snack. For many people, having an empty stomach makes nausea worse.
  • Choose food that does is not overly sweet, spicy, greasy or have a strong odour.
  • If you loved one experience nausea in the morning, having some dry cracker or bread can help.
  • Sip clear fluids (barley water, ginger tea and clear soups) between meals.
  • Some individuals find sour or salty food helpful in reducing nausea.

Exhaustion

  • Encourage your loved one to eat smaller portions that are high in protein and energy (i.e. nutrient-dense food).
  • Try having meals together as a family as this encourage your loved one to eat more. Keep mealtimes flexible and enjoyable.

Dryness in mouth

  • If your loved one is experiencing dryness in the mouth avoid sour or salty food and beverages as they worsen the pain.
  • Avoid rough-textured food such as dry toast, crackers, granola which may scratch the inner linings of the mouth and throat.
  • Choose cool or lukewarm food and snacks (ice-cream and smoothies can be soothing).
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid spices such as chilli powder, curry, hot sauces and pepper which can irritate the mouth. Try seasoning your food with herbs instead.
  • Encourage your loved one to drink with a straw or use a teaspoon to help them with smaller bites.
  • If they have a dry mouth, moisten food with sauces or gravies.

Back to contents ↑

nutrition-cancer-patient-jaga-me-home

Constipation

Constipation is common and results in discomfort, pain and bloatedness.

  • Try adding more fibre to your loved one’s diet such as whole grain food, vegetables, fruits, beans and lentils.
  • Drink at least 8-10 cups of fluids lately. These include water, milk, juices, soups and other beverages. (Try to avoid caffeinated drinks – coffee and coca cola as they dehydrate the body).
  • Go for walks and some light exercises to help stimulate bowel movement. (Seek your doctor’s advice on performing light exercises)
  • Try sunfiber (prebiotic fibre supplement that is safe for infants to the elderly).
  • If your loved one has not passed motion in 3 or more days – inform your doctor or nurse.

Diarrhoea

  • If your loved one experience diarrhoea, try drinking plenty of mild or clear liquids (throughout the day) to prevent dehydration in room temperature.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks during the day.
  • Avoid high-fibre, high-fat (greasy/fried), spicy or sweet food as they make diarrhoea worse. Try Sunfiber which is scientifically proven to help both constipation and diarrhoea.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables with skin, seeds or dried fruits. When your loved one has recovered from diarrhoea, gradually introduce food with more fibre.
  • Change to a lactose-free dairy product or nutritional supplements.
  • Limit sugar-free gum and sweets with sorbitol (alcohol sugar) that can trigger diarrhoea.
  • Inform your loved one’s doctor if diarrhoea persists or increases. Observe your loved one’s stool if it has an unusual colour or odour.

Bloating

  • Encourage small frequent meals.
  • Provide beverage in-between meals rather than during mealtimes.
  • Avoid overeating and chew food thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Avoid fried and greasy food – fats can stay in the stomach longer and give a sense of bloatedness.
  • Limit food and beverages that cause gas (soft drinks, dairy products, certain vegetables i.e. cabbage, cauliflower, apple, beans and lentils.)
  • Encourage light exercises like going for walks.

Chewing and Swallowing Problems

Problems with chewing and swallowing can happen due to the side effects of cancer treatment like ulcers and inflammation or the cancer itself – it is advisable to get a speech therapist and find out if there are any risks of choking if your loved one has these problems.

  • Choose soft and moist food that are easy to swallow. E.g. Bread dipped in milk/milo, scrambled eggs, steam fish, ice cream and yoghurts.
  • Avoid sticky food like glutinous rice.
  • Cold food and drinks are helpful in soothing painful ulcers.
  • Try putting food of the same texture together i.e. thickening the soup that it is less runny and coats the rice/noodles properly. The thickened soup helps to moisten the noodles/rice and reduce the risks of liquids slipping down the throat too quickly.
  • Cut food into smaller pieces if chewing is a challenge.
health-food-matters-logo

If you need recommendations on nutrition products – you can contact Health Food Matters they develop food products catered for the elderly. Their Delisoft Easy Meals are nutritious and come in different textures. Whether your loved one has difficulty swallowing or have no teeth to chew you’ll be able to find something suitable. 

Back to contents ↑

How to Cope with Emotions?

Jaga-Me believes in the empowerment of patients and caregivers. Here are some tips your loved one can try to incorporate into their new lifestyle.

Take charge of your life

Be in control. Understand the type of cancer and the treatment options that are available. You can always approach your doctor and nurses to better understand the type of procedures and treatments.

Writing/art/music therapy

Encourage your loved one or yourself to write and journal down your thoughts and emotions. Alternatively try expressing any thoughts through painting, drawing or even music.

Talk to someone

Talking to friends or family members about any concerns and troubles helps. Alternatively, you or your loved one can seek help from a professional counsellor. Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) has a strong team of counsellors and social workers if you or your loved one need someone to talk to. You can contact them at 6421 5877 or 6421 5878.  

Support group

A support group is a great way for both caregivers and patients to seek help and share their experience with others. Do not be alone on this journey to recovery. Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) conducts support group sessions for cancer patients. If you have any enquiries you can call them @ 6499 9132.

Back to contents ↑

Palliative Care Option

Many people have the misconception that palliative care option is for patients who are near death. However, palliative care option can be introduced at the early stages of cancer treatment. Palliative care helps manage the various side effects of chemotherapy treatment. It is a holistic care that provides patients with a more comfortable journey to recovery. Check out our comprehensive palliative care guide on how you can receive palliative care in the comfort of your home.

Back to contents ↑

jaga-me-services

How Jaga-Me can Help? 

In Jaga-Me, we aim to make healthcare accessible to everyone. We provide on-demand quality home care services. We are here to share your caregiving responsibility or simply being there to provide any form of support for you and your loved one. So…how can we help you?

Medical Procedures

Jaga-Me provides home care services for cancer patients. If you need any support in regards to nursing procedures e.g. IV drips, wound dressings or pain medications, you can engage with our home care services.

  • Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) Dressing

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) is used for simple administration of medication (e.g. antibiotics) or taking of blood samples from the patient. Your doctor will determine whether you need to have a PICC for your cancer treatment.

picc-line-dressing-jaga-me

Home Care for PICC | Tips from a Jaga-Me Nurse

  1. Change the dressing for PICC every 3 – 4 days or when it is required [You would need professional medical help to clean the area around the PICC and change the dressing]. This prevents an infection from happening.
  2. Flushing of the PICC has to be done at every 3 – 4 days to prevent blockage from happening [Have to be done by a medical professional – nurse/doctor].
  3. The PICC cannot come into contact with water. Cover your PICC with a plastic sheet while showering or bathing.  
  4. Do not do any form of vigorous exercises e.g tennis, lifting weights. This might cause the tube to dislodge.  

If there is any form of dislodgement of the PICC, bleeding, pain or fever – seek help immediately from your doctor/nurse.

Alternatively, if you need help in the change of PICC dressing, you can contact Jaga-Me for professional nursing procedures.

Back to contents ↑

Home Respite Care

respite-care-jaga-me

Caregivers who need support or relief from their caregiving responsibility can consider respite care. Jaga-Me’s respite care is designed to provide relief for both caregivers and care recipients. Caregivers can have a worry-free day or a good night’s sleep while we take care of your loved one. And your loved one can receive quality care in the comfort of their own home.

Medical Escort Service

medical-escort-service-jaga-me

Unable to accompany your loved ones to their medical appointments? You can engage Jaga-Me’s Medical Escort Service. Our nurses or care aides will be with your loved one throughout the process – from booking a taxi to the doctor’s visit and medication collection. Have a worry-free day as our JagaPros accompany your loved one to their medical appointments!

Back to contents ↑

Jaga-Me can Help

At Jaga-Me, we fully understand your concerns and difficulties. Book our services or simply click the intercom button on the bottom right of the page to chat with us! 

From our Jaga-Me family, to yours.