Health Talks: The role of a caregiver

A caregiver can take on many roles during a patient’s illness or recovery. The health and emotional well-being of the caregiver is also just as important as the patient’s. Let’s talk about available resources and tips to help new and seasoned caregivers alike.

What is the role of a caregiver?

The role of a caregiver is to be a patient advocate, the primary companion and support person for the patient. A caregiver might help with the patient’s daily chores, finances, child care, the physical lifting of the patient, and transportation to medical appointments.

Is a caregiver a family member or someone you hire?

A caregiver is anyone involved with the patient or the patient’s family setting. It can be a neighbor, family member or friend — anyone in the patient’s circle who’s willing and able.

What are some ways the caregiver might need emotional support?

Caregivers deal with stress, anxiety and grief for the life they had before becoming a caregiver. If they care for someone with memory loss, they may grieve the relationship they used to have with the patient.

What resources are available for caregiver support?

There are many resources and programs available at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. There is psychosocial oncology, which is individual counseling for patients and caregivers. Our JamesCare for Life programs include support and wellness programs pertaining to nutrition, exercise, patient education and mindfulness.

What advice do you have to support caregivers?

Keep the lines of communication open with your support system, the medical team and patient. Exercise and take care of yourself. Be forgiving of yourself.

Watch the full Health Talks interview above.

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