Supporting Caregivers

The establishment of a patient-caregiver partnership and effective communication among patients, the multidisciplinary care team (doctors, nurses, support staff), and caregivers can result in effective patient management and optimal treatment outcomes.1,2

Caregivers are an essential part of the cancer care team, and they have many roles.3,4

  • Many caregivers travel with their loved ones to and from medical appointments, work with healthcare teams, ask questions, and take notes
  • They also sometimes administer medication, help with daily activities, and provide emotional support
  • A caregiver’s role can change from day to day, depending on the needs and symptoms of the person with MDS
  • They are most often family or close friends; however, they can also be professionals who assist with organizing and delivering care

A caregiver’s well-being is a critical part of the care dynamic, as a caregiver’s physical, emotional, and mental health are equally important to those of the patient they are providing care for.3,4

You can help caregivers focus on their needs by encouraging them to3:

  • Ask for help, build a multidisciplinary care team, and strike a balance each day
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with enough nutrition, exercise, and sleep
  • Practice relaxation or meditation
  • Make an appointment to see a healthcare provider for a wellness check
  • Seek help when feeling anxious or depressed
  • Talk with a financial counselor and a certified public accountant about financial guidance

References: 1. Kurtin SE, Paterson P, Wintrich S, et al. Patient and family resources for living with myelodysplastic syndromes. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2012;16(suppl):58-64. 2. Kurtin SE, Demakos EP, Hayden J, Boglione C. Treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes: practical tools for effective management. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2012;16(suppl):23-35. 3. MDS Foundation. Caregiving: Living with MDS: resources for managing each day. https://www.mds-foundation.org/building-blocks-of-hope/quicktip/caregiving-living-with-mds-resources-for-managing-each-day/. Accessed September 8, 2019. 4. Cancer.net. Caregivers taking care of themselves. Updated August 2017. https://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/caring-loved-one/caregivers-taking-care-themselves. Accessed October 12, 2018.