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Early palliative support services help those caring for patients with advanced cancer
Date:6/5/2014

effectively partner with the cancer patient to manage symptoms; self-care (healthy eating, exercise, and relaxation); how to build a support network; and decision making and advance care planning. After these sessions, the caregivers received monthly supportive care follow-up phone calls. One group of caregivers started this phone-based program within two weeks of agreeing to participate in the study, while the other group started 12 weeks later.

The study results suggest that the earlier palliative care services are introduced to caregivers, the better they will be able to cope with the caregiving experience. Researchers found that overall quality of life, depression, and feelings of being overwhelmed by the demands of caregiving all improved in the group that started the program immediately compared with those who started later.

Dionne-Odom noted that there are few organized palliative care programs for caregivers of patients with advanced cancer, and reimbursement for this type of counseling is very limited. An online family care navigator tool from the Family Caregiver Alliance's National Center on Caregiving website may help family givers find assistance in their local area.


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Contact: Robin Dutcher
Robin.Dutcher@hitchcock.org
603-653-9056
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Source:Eurekalert

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