Getting Extra Support
If you are a carer for someone with mesothelioma, you may help with their everyday needs, such as:
• cooking meals
• helping around the house
• helping them with washing and bathing.
While you may be very happy to do this, there may come a time when you might need some extra support. Let your Support Worker, GP or nurse know if you do. There are different health and social care professionals who can help.
Looking after yourself
Caring for someone you love can be physically and emotionally difficult. If you have been looking after them for some time, you may start to feel tired. It is important to look after yourself too. Getting the help you need can help your relationship with the person you are caring for. If it would help, it may be possible to get a short-term payment from a compensation claim, to help pay for some care.
Talking about cancer
As a relative or friend, you may find it hard to talk about the disease or share your feelings. You might think it is best to pretend everything is fine and carry on as normal. You might not want to worry the person with mesothelioma, or you might feel you are letting them down if you admit to being afraid. Unfortunately, denying strong emotions can make it even harder to talk, and may lead to the person you are caring for feeling isolated. You can help by listening carefully to what they want to say. It may be best not to rush into talking about the disease. Usually, it is enough just to listen and let the person talk when they are ready.
Inquest after someone dies
There may come a time when treatments are no longer working for your relative or friend and you have to prepare for their death. When someone dies of mesothelioma, there will need to be an inquest. An inquest is needed because mesothelioma is an occupational disease. When a person with mesothelioma dies, the doctor who signs the death certificate must inform the coroner who will carry out the inquest. The need for an inquest will not usually mean any delay before your relative or friend’s funeral can take place as the coroner will issue a temporary death certificate in most cases. This is because a full certificate cannot be issued until after the inquest is completed, which may take a few months.
The coroner will decide if a post mortem is needed to find out whether the death was due to mesothelioma or another cause. In many situations, a post mortem is not needed if there is enough medical evidence to confirm the person had mesothelioma. This evidence may come from samples (biopsies) that were taken when the person was first diagnosed with mesothelioma.
It can be distressing when you have to deal with these issues as well as the possible death of your relative or friend. You may wish to get support from your Support Worker. LASAG has set up friendship groups in Canterbury and Sittingbourne for bereaved family and friends to get together monthly.
Relatives of people who have died from mesothelioma may be able to claim compensation for their relative’s pain and suffering, and some financial losses suffered as a result of the illness. This may not be possible if the person who died from mesothelioma had already made a claim which had been settled. It is important to get legal advice from a specialist solicitor on how to make a claim. A LASAG Support Worker can put you in touch with a solicitor if you haven’t appointed one.