Going home for the first time after your child's diagnosis can be overwhelming. Now that treatment has started you need to be prepared for how to care for your child at home. Below are answers to a few practical questions about your home, siblings, and visitors.
How do I keep my child safe from germs?
- Hand washing is key! Keep a roll of paper towels at every sink for hand drying. Hand sanitizer is good to keep with you when you are out.
- Use Clorox wipes for common items like the phone, computer keyboard, hand-held game or TV remote.
- Purchase disposable masks at your local CVS or Walgreens for family or close friends who may want to visit but have recently been sick.
- Fill the bathtub with warm water and a cup of Clorox and give all your child’s favorite plastic toys a bath. Then when they are ready to play, the toys will be ready for them!
Can friends visit?
- Absolutely! Visits from friends and family can be very healing but also exhausting. Set limits in advance on how many visitors at once and how long they can stay.
- Some people have a difficult time when they hear the news and you may find that some friends shy away from you. Many people don’t know what to say or they may say the wrong thing while trying to be supportive. A cancer diagnosis strikes a nerve in most people and reminds them of their own vulnerability. Your schedule will become more hectic with frequent clinic visits and you may not have as much time for your friends. Thankfully, most people are willing to embrace your new “normal” and will be there for you when you are available.
Are there any foods we should avoid?
- Please check with your physician regarding the consumption of raw, under cooked protiens and sushi.
- Thorough washing of fruits and vegetables is always recommended!
- Deli meats are OK but ask the market to clean the machine for you or use pre-packaged.
- Do not hesitate to share your child's condition with your favorite restaurants.
What side effects should I expect?
- Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon side effects. So you might want to keep a 'bucket' handy and one for the car. But you may find that once the nausea passes, your child will be ready to play and eat again, sometimes right away.
- Fever is critical. A fever of 100.4 necessitates a call to your doctor. DO NOT give any over-the-counter medications for fever without consulting your doctor first. That includes: Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin or Ibuprofen.
*Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Aspirin should never be given without permission from your Oncology Physician or Nurse Practitioner.
*Very important* Never give any holistic or herbal remedies without consulting your Oncology physician or Nurse Practitioner.
When can my child go back to school?
- Every child responds to treatment differently, but in most cases, the first few months require multiple trips to the clinic every week which makes going back to school full-time difficult. Ask your Childlife Specialist about their back to school programs – they can help to educate your child’s classmates on what to expect and help you inform the school of your child’s educational needs. When your child is ready to go back to school be sure to inform them of your child's treatment protocol and set up a plan which might include a 504 plan, where you can request to have homework emailed/faxed home and an extra set of books for child to use, get permission to wear hat and other accomodations.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to a home coordinator to answer your questions and give you a check list of things to help you plan for this next important step on your journey.