Some people live away from the person with cancer. You may feel guilty for not being closer, and you may feel you are the last one to know about treatment and care.
Living away from the everyday care may give you a different perspective on the situation. In some cases, this could help you solve problems or coordinate care more effectively.
Ways to stay involved when living long-distance
- If someone else is the primary carer, ask what you can do to support them.
- Create a local support network. You could start by connecting with relatives and friends who can visit the person regularly. You can also talk to the hospital social worker about arranging volunteer and paid care workers, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out what support is available in the person’s local area.
- Consider using websites such as Gather My Crew to coordinate offers of help.
- Keep an up-to-date contact list of the health care team members who are looking after the person with cancer.
- Use technology to stay in touch. Options to consider include email, blogging, text messaging, Skype, Facebook and video conferencing apps such as Zoom.
- Ask the person if their health professional will allow them to record consultations so you can hear what was discussed, or join the consult by telephone.
- Research telephone (landline and mobile) and internet plans with different providers to reduce costs.
- Set aside money so you are prepared if you have to travel suddenly.
- Create an emergency care plan and give copies to the carer and emergency contacts you have nominated.
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.
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