How to Make Your Home More Cancer-Patient Friendly

by GregP_WN

A family’s cancer journey can feel overwhelming. For caregivers, knowing how to balance your own needs while still providing the best possible care and support to your loved ones isn’t always easy. After taking care of our Parents our family learned some things to make life a little easier for both the caregivers and the patient. 

Cancer Patient Bathroom

Before a cancer diagnosis, most families just go about their daily routine with ease. However, after receiving a cancer diagnosis, families quickly realize the number of things they have to change at home to accommodate a patient’s evolving needs. Despite the difficulties, there are ways to modify your home to make it easier to care for a family member or friend with cancer.


Every cancer diagnosis is unique. Therefore, each type of cancer involves different treatments. Melanoma, for instance, can require skin graft surgery, so developing a treatment plan that works for both you and your patient is essential for the best possible prognosis and recovery. Encourage patients to be their own health advocate; this helps to understand as much as possible about a diagnosis and a specific treatment plan. If your loved one isn’t comfortable speaking up during doctor appointments, come prepared with a list of questions to ask or and act as their support. As a caregiver, you can do your own research too, and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion when appropriate.

The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that more than 65 million Americans are serving as caregivers. Since most caregivers are not trained in assisting patients with activities of daily life (ADLs)–like bathing, eating, dressing, and using the toilet–it’s essential to educate yourself on the proper care techniques for your patient’s specific cancer. Once you have a set game plan for how you will care for your cancer patient, it’s time to make preventative modifications to your home to support this plan.

Safe Modifications

Take an honest look at your home. What modifications are essential for creating a safe home environment? Prioritize changes that improve both safety and accessibility. A condition can worsen with time, so work on projects that provide long-term solutions. Even if something isn’t an issue right now, it might be down the road–and it doesn’t hurt to be preventative!

In the beginning stages of a melanoma diagnosis, cancer patients might still be able to shower independently. With time, a patient’s needs and abilities may change. Once a patient isn’t able to use the restroom by themselves, the most basic of problems pop up. As a caregiver, you can address these issues by modifying your bathroom.
Below are some excellent ways to create a safe bathroom environment, where you can more efficiently and effectively care for a family member with cancer:

Replace your bathtub with a curbless shower.
● Replace round or vintage door knobs with lever-style handles.
● Reduce pain and improve mobility with a transfer shower bench.
● Replace fixed shower-head with a detachable, spray shower-head.
● Incorporate a bathroom exhaust fan that has a heater on a timer.
● Install touchless, motion-sensor faucets.

Whether you decide to remodel your existing bathroom or plan to build a brand new one, it’s best to call in a local pro. As a caregiver, you have enough to worry about–and figuring out how to move your plumbing fixtures without wreaking havoc on your home shouldn’t be one of them. Find potential plumbers in your area and discuss your project ideas and concerns. A qualified plumber can ease your worries about taking on a large-scale bathroom renovation and can save you precious time compared to doing it yourself.

Home Design

A bleak environment does not support healing. Your home design impacts your health and, if appropriately implemented, it can improve how patients feel both physically and mentally. You should consider this if you want to create and maintain a comfortable and healing space for loved ones.

Making Your Home More Cancer Patient Friendly

Since home modifications can improve your mood and provide a sense of comfort, beautify your patient’s bedroom with a natural, tranquil color palette. Incorporate earthy tones like soft blues, greens, or tans. Light pink and beige tones are also great options and look nice when paired with fresh flowers or greenery. An open-floor concept can facilitate interaction amongst family members, which helps cancer patients feel less isolated and more connected at home.

A space that evokes calm and peaceful feelings can go a long way in easing your body and mind and makes it easier for patients to reflect on their treatment journey. Install larger windows to provide a better view of nature and your outdoor atmosphere. Research done in hospital shows how your exposure to nature contributes to several health benefits. The soothing impact of nature can go a long way in helping patients cope with pain and discomfort associated with cancer. If you’re looking for a way to de-stress and connect with patients, family members, or your home environment, engage with nature.

Making Your Home More Cancer Patient Friendly 2.Png

Easy Transportation

In later stages of melanoma, some people might experience unfavorable side effects that limit mobility. You can make it easier on yourself and patients to get around the house by modifying doorways, staircases, and walkways. When you need to get patients to the doctor, hospital, or emergency room, you don’t want to worry about calling an ambulance. If your patient uses a walker or a wheelchair to get around the house, it might be a good idea to widen doorways and hallways to accommodate them.

A long-term solution to providing patients with accessible ways of getting around the home is installing a ramp from the driveway to the front entrance. It can be difficult for cancer patients–especially those with limited mobility–to safely manage going up and down stairways, and it can be stressful for caregivers to assist them, too. A ramp reduces the risk of injury from falls and makes getting patients around way more manageable.

Although home modifications might be the last thing you want to plan after finding out your loved one has cancer, it’s important to take preventative measures and assist in recovery and treatment solutions at home. Over time, you can find a healthy balance with your caregiving routine and personal needs. A cancer diagnosis is devastating, but also manageable and potentially curable with the right care and a healthy support system. Remember, your caregiving journey is unique, so incorporate necessary changes at home that allow you to get through the tough and rewarding days.

How have you made your home more "cancer patient friendly?" Please share in the comments below.

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