Cancer does not only affect a patient’s physical health but also their mental well-being and those around them. In fact, cancer survivors can undergo psychological distress due to the consequences of their illness or fear of cancer recurring. Oncology Nurse Advisor even notes that cancer caregivers are prone to suffering from issues related to depression and anxiety due to their patient’s condition.
While both survivors and caretakers are susceptible to mental health concerns, due to telehealth services they are now able to get more accessible healthcare. So below, we will discuss several of its benefits for cancer survivors and caretakers alike:
It offers more personalized experiences.
Cancer survivors and caretakers experience unique situations that most people don’t ever encounter like worrying about whether their cancer will return. Telehealth mental services can reach practically any location, so this allows mental health professionals to observe and interact with their patient’s usual environment.
Telehealth can provide personalized experiences for patients, ensuring that they receive the effective care they need. For instance, upon observing a patient’s room, the mental health professional could suggest drawing the curtains or asking them to stay away from their old medication or treatment methods to try and improve their mood. They can also interact with the patient’s family members to ask questions in relation to the patient’s experience with cancer, so they can suggest a better treatment method. These variables are sometimes challenging to do with traditional in-person appointments.
Patients can comfortably receive care
Cancer.net reveals that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms affecting survivors due to the lasting effects of their cancer or maintenance medication. Any lingering disabilities may also make it difficult for a survivor to travel to and from a hospital or clinic when needed. That's not to mention that a cancer caretaker may experience fatigue due to having to monitor their patient around the clock. In these instances, this can prevent survivors from seeking mental health services in favor of resting at home.
Fortunately, telehealth’s remote nature means the patient can seek assistance from practically anywhere as long as they have a stable internet connection. Survivors can still attend appointments even when they’re resting at home and caretakers can still receive care without going out and tiring themselves out even more. Telehealth in mental health services ensures that treatment is comfortably delivered to patients.
It provides better access to rural residents.
People in rural areas have difficulty getting medical treatments. The Charlotte Observer reports that rural regions in North Carolina suffer from medical staff and supply shortages in community health centers. This impacts cancer survivors and caretakers, too, because as we mentioned earlier, they exhaust themselves traveling to urban destinations for mental health treatment. On top of this, mental health treatment can also be expensive to procure.
Luckily, telehealth is aiding in solving this problem by providing a more accessible and cost-effective solution. Doctors can easily practice via telehealth and residents can access them with an internet connection. When healthcare is more in demand, telehealth helps boost the benefits of the state being a full-practice authority state for nurse practitioners (NPs). Furthermore, remote nurse practitioner jobs in North Carolina are plentiful. All NPs have to do is get a master’s degree or higher in Nursing, accomplish an NP education program, and get certified by a national credentialing body such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Doctors and NPs from other states may also practice in NC as long as they get this certification.
It shortens delays in the delivery of mental health care.
Cancer survivors must get mental health care as soon as possible to ensure a smooth recovery process. Likewise, cancer caretakers need immediate access to mental health services to continue helping their patients to the best of their ability. However, WECT News reports that mental health patients have recently been experiencing delayed care due to long wait times and a shortage of mental health professionals. Some patients reportedly wait 30 days before getting treatment.
With telehealth, they won’t need to experience the same fate. Since telehealth sessions are conducted virtually, they can get treated as soon as their doctor starts the call. This ensures that they instantly receive the proper interventions for better mental well-being.
Consider using telehealth mental services and reading our article ‘Self-Care on a Budget’ to improve your mental well-being. After all, mental health is a part of your overall well-being, and it’s important to stay healthy whether you’re a cancer survivor or a caretaker.
Teal Diva focuses on the mental and emotional health of those affected by gynecologic cancer. Our goal is to meet our community where they are by connecting with newly diagnosed women, survivors, and their support network. Our programs include, but are not limited to active treatment support, celebrating survivorship, and honoring legacies, all while providing strength through connection.
Article by: Jenifer Rutherford
Exclusively for tealdiva.org