Care options for someone with cancer and dementia

A person with cancer and dementia may be able to stay at home with help and support. Or they can be cared for in a hospice or nursing home.

Where they will be cared for depends on:

  • what they want
  • what help they have from family and friends
  • what services are available in the area they live in
  • their medical condition.

Most people prefer to stay at home, as long as they know they will have good-quality care. Even if they choose not to be cared for at home, they can still be surrounded by people and things that are important to them.

Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline can help carers find out what respite and long-term care options are available. Call them on 0800 888 6678 for more information.

 

Short term care

If someone decides to be looked after at home, they can still have some types of short-term care. For example, they may be able to go to a day centre during the day if their carer has to work.

Hospices and residential homes may also offer short stays for a few days or weeks. This might be to have specialised care that helps control symptoms or to give carers a break.

Their GP, district nurse or specialist palliative nurse may be able to arrange for them to go into care for a short while. This might be in a:

  • hospice
  • hospital
  • residential home
  • care home with nursing (nursing home).

 

Care in residential homes

Residential and nursing homes offer short-term or long-term accommodation and care. Residential care homes or care homes with nursing provide different levels of care. A social worker or member of the healthcare team can explain the difference.

They can give you more information about local care homes and the type of care provided. They may also help you think about how to pay for care home arrangements and how to arrange this type of care. Organising care homes can take some time.

Lists of local care homes are available from your local social services department. The standard of care provided by care homes and care agencies is monitored across the UK by care regulators. These include:

Before choosing a care home or agency, you may want to check its standard of care with one of these organisations. You can also ask your healthcare worker or social worker to give you this information.

Hospice care

If someone becomes more unwell, they may want to be looked after in a hospice or in a palliative care unit of the local hospital.

Their GP, district nurse, specialist palliative care nurse or social worker may suggest a short stay in a hospice or hospital. This may be because they have symptoms that would be easier to control with specialist care. They may be given treatments until symptoms improve and then go back home.

Hospices are generally smaller and quieter than hospitals and work at a much gentler pace. Many have sitting rooms and space for family to stay overnight.

Sometimes there is a waiting list to go into a hospice, but this is usually short. If you are not sure about the idea of hospice care, you can ask to visit before making a decision.

How we can help

Macmillan Cancer Support Line
The Macmillan Support Line offers confidential support to people living with cancer and their loved ones. If you need to talk, we'll listen.
0808 808 00 00
7 days a week, 8am - 8pm
Email us
Get in touch via this form
Chat online
7 days a week, 8am - 8pm
Online Community
An anonymous network of people affected by cancer which is free to join. Share experiences, ask questions and talk to people who understand.
Help in your area
What's going on near you? Find out about support groups, where to get information and how to get involved with Macmillan where you live.