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Caregiver Overview

American Cancer Society Caregiver Resource Guide

The Caregiver Resource Guide is a tool for people who are caring for someone with cancer and can help you learn to care for yourself,
better understand your loved one’s journey, develop skills for coping, and taking steps to help protect your own health and well-being.

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Effective Communications

As a caregiver, you will need to be able to speak with the patient,
medical team, friends, family, and people who are generally concerned about the patient.

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If You're About to Become a Caregiver

The caregiver has a key role in the patient’s care. Good, reliable caregiver support is crucial to the physical and emotional well-being of people with cancer.

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Making Patient Health Decisions

When the patient can think clearly, the cancer care team will follow his or her decisions as long as they don’t create safety issues. But what if he or she needs help?

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PearlPoint Caregiver Handbook

This handbook, created by PearlPoint Cancer Support, contains everything you need to know to more confidently manage your role as a cancer caregiver.

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Understanding the Cancer Experience

When a person has cancer,
no one can predict the outcome.
While there’s no way for them to know for sure, the cancer care team should be able to give you an idea of how things are likely to go.

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What is a Cancer Caregiver?

Caregivers are people who most often help the person with cancer and are not paid to do so. They may be partners, family members, or close friends.

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When Someone You Love is Being Treated for Cancer

This book is meant to provide caregivers with the information that they need early on in the caregiving process.

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Young Adults as Caregivers

Young Adults as Caregivers

Caregiving can be challenging, particularly if you’re a young adult. Individuals 18-40 have a unique set of needs and responsibilities that can make being a caregiver especially challenging.

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Family Resources

Building a Community of Support

To be the best caregiver for your loved one, seek support and information from others. Those who receive help report feeling less isolated, anxious, and depressed.

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Caregiving During the Holidays

For families affected by cancer, the traditional holiday spirit may be the furthest thing from their mind.

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Family Meetings

Family meetings help you make sure that everyone understands the situation. Even if others arent directly giving care, the time you spend caregiving may affect them.

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What to Say to a Newly-Diagnosed Loved One

Studies show that people do better emotionally in a crisis when they have strong support from family members and friends.

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Getting Organized

Caring for a Loved One with a Long-Term Illness

When you are caring for a loved one with a long-term illness, caregiving becomes a marathon rather than a sprint.

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Cancer Terms Dictionary

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network provides a dictionary with cancer terms. Take a look if you need a little help navigating your diagnosis and treatment.

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Helping from a Distance

If you are caring for someone with cancer who lives more than an hour away, it can be emotionally and practically difficult.

Helping from a Distance Long-Distance Caregiving
Helping Your Loved One or Child Cope with Hair Loss

There are many ways caregivers and parents can help their loved ones cope with this treatment side effect.

Read More Hats for Cancer Patients Men and Hair Loss Wigs for Cancer Patients
Making a Caregiving Plan

A Caregiving Plan lays out what needs to be done to manage the health and wellbeing of the patient. Unlike a doctors plan, this one addresses mostly non-medical issues.

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Medication Management

Helping the patient keep track of medications is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Work with the patient to create a record with information on each medication.

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Mobile Applications and Cancer

Many apps can conveniently help organize questions to ask your health care team, provide information about a diagnosis, and/or help caregivers coordinate practical needs.

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Cancer can be a huge financial burden on families, with many treatment-related costs not covered by insurance that are supplemented by additional, non-medical costs.

Read More Patient Job, Insurance, and Money Concerns
Oncology Social Workers

Oncology social workers understand the complex issues raised by cancer. They also know ways to cope with these issues and can bring an enormous sense of relief to both patients and their families.

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Talking with Providers

If you stay in touch with health care providers, youll likely have a better understanding of the disease and treatment.

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During treatment, the person with cancer may need to go to the hospital or clinic over the course of many weeks. Because treatment can cause weakness, pain, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, he or she may not be able to drive him or herself.

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Calendar and paperclips
Emergency evacuation plan


Emergency Preparedness

People with cancer can sometimes have serious, life-threating events caused by the disease or treatment. You are less likely to be surprised by emergencies if you know about the persons illness and what to expect.

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Home Safety

Most homes are not designed for people with disabilities or chronic diseases. By following these tips and consulting with a home health care worker, you can check the home for hazards.

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How to Prepare for a Weather Emergency

If you are preparing for a hurricane or winter storm, take steps to prepare in advance.

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