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The Importance Of Respite Services For Families

In this blog Kamran* talks about the importance of accessing respite services by families when needed.

My father suffered from vascular dementia for the best part of a decade. He was a smoker from a very early age and developed Type 2 Diabetes when he was about 60 years old. He was increasingly ill and frail due to dementia towards the end of his life, and after a deterioration in health we discovered a tumour on his lung. As the cancer had progressed, we had complex discussions with the doctors and family members following which we started palliative care.

The cause of death on his death certificate was ‘cancer’. We were fortunate that the impact of cancer was relatively limited, as he developed this towards the end of his life. However, my auntie, his sister, died of cancer a few years before him and she suffered significantly more and for a longer period, something that we as a family really found hard to deal with. Our families cared for both my father and his sister. We ended up using some of the available support services, but in the limited way, and on reflection we should have done this more as it was there for it to be accessed for families in our situation.

The impact of respite support when caring for people we love is significant, this can be physically and emotionally challenging. There is a reluctance for Muslim families to use these services, and I have spoken to service providers who have assured me that they are happy to make any culturally specific adjustments to accommodate more people using their services. I would recommend Muslim families engaging with respite services and other locally commissioned services, to support them when providing care for family members who have cancer.

These respite services provide support and allow families to provide better care for the people they love. My experience is that they will not take over, and they will enable better and more supported care for family members, either at home or in hospital. If you or your family are in this situation please do not hesitate to reach out and access what support there is out there. Let them help you help your loved ones.

*name has been changed to protect identity.

Safeena - Muslim Cancer Support Network

Safeena - Muslim Cancer Support Network

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Safeena - Muslim Cancer Support Network
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