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By Tricia Strusowski, MS, RN
This is the final post in a two-part series on creating a toolkit for caregivers.
A recent symposium on Palliative Care in Oncology also called attention to the importance of ensuring that the needs of cancer patients’ caregivers are recognized. “Despite providing essential home and healthcare services, cancer caregivers are underserved and undervalued while facing a multitude of unmet needs,” said J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, ACHPN, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. “There are 2.8 million cancer caregivers performing a variety of invaluable and time-consuming tasks that can take a marked toll on their physical and mental health.”1 Caregivers are tasked with daily activities in the home and at work, potentially child/elder care, appointments, transportation, medication administration, meals, and medical procedures needed by the patient just to name a few. We need to ensure that we are discussing the needs of the caregiver, as well as those of the patient, on a routine basis.
As navigators, we can provide education information for caregivers, support groups, or educational programs. Make the caregiver a high priority in your navigation program.
Here are 24 practical tips that patient navigators can share with caregivers to help them through the process.
1 Doyle C. Palliative care for caregivers: Implementing caregiver support programs. Oncol Pharm. November 2016;(9)6. Available online at http://theoncologypharmacist.com/ton-issue-archive/2016-issues/november-vol-9-no-6/16928-palliative-care-for-caregivers-implementing-
Other Caregiver Resources are available from:
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
ACCC member Tricia Strusowski, MS, RN, is a consultant with Oncology Solutions, LLC.