What carers do
Every caring situation is different. What you need to do will vary depending on the situation and will usually change over time. It often involves a wide range of tasks and sometimes means that you need to learn a new range of skills.
Learn more about:
- Medical care
- Practical support
- Financial matters
- Planning for the future
- Communicating with others
- Emotional support
- Long-distance caring
Below is a summary of some of the key tasks and skills that are often involved in caring.
- Advocate for the person with cancer
- Work with the health care team
- Monitor and report symptoms and treatment side effects
- Keep records of appointments, test results and treatments
- Navigate the health care system, and Medicare and Centrelink payments
- Manage and give medicines
- Look after the home, keeping it safe and comfortable
- Manage family responsibilities, such as caring for children or parents
- Provide transport to treatment
- Help with personal care
- Encourage exercise
- Prepare meals
- Do shopping
- Look after pets
- Help the person see a lawyer to make legal arrangements for the future, such as a will and advance care directive
- Ensure advance care directives are uploaded to myhealthrecord.gov.au and take witnessed copies with you to appointments
- Arrange for the person to get professional advice to help them manage the financial impact of cancer
- Talk about end-of-life plans
- Offer companionship
- Be an active non-judgemental listener
- Provide encouragement, comfort and understanding
- Arrange professional support if needed
- Keep family and friends up to date
- Negotiate care and responsibilities with others
- Talk about other things aside from cancer
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Mary Bairstow, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Anne Booms, Nurse Practitioner – Supportive and Palliative Care, Icon Cancer Centre Midland, WA; Dr Erica Cameron-Taylor, Staff Specialist, Department of Palliative Care, Mercy Hospice, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Louise Good, Cancer Nurse Consultant, WA; Verity Jausnik, Senior Policy Officer, Carers Australia; David Larkin, Cancer Supportive Care Manager, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital and Health Service, ACT; Kate Martin, Consumer; John McMath, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Coordinator, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer Care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Dean Rowe, Consumer; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.