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For Caregivers and Family

The American Cancer Society defines a caregiver as a person who regularly helps a person with cancer without being paid to do so. Caregivers are generally part of the patient’s inner circle, and they can be trusted to offer physical care, lend emotional support, and provide help with day-to-day tasks. Though usually not trained for the job, caregivers can be a lifeline for the person with cancer. As a caregiver, you have a huge influence on how the patient copes with their illness. Your encouragement can help the patient follow their treatment plan and take other steps to get well, such as eating healthy meals and getting enough rest.1
As a caregiver, it’s important to learn as much as possible about the patient’s diagnosis. This will help you understand the process and get an idea of what lies ahead.
When you need information from the medical team, it may not be possible to get it without signed permission from the patient. Ask about a release the patient can sign that allows doctors to discuss their medical care with you.2

Tips for productive family meetings…
One way to keep everyone informed is to have family meetings. When planning a family meeting, it’s important to include everyone who is or will be part of the home caregiving team.

This could include a family friend, neighbor, or paid caregiver—and don’t forget the patient! These meetings can be done in person, on a video conference, or through audio conference calling. Some of the most common topics to cover:
  • The latest report from the doctor: How things are going and what to expect next
  • Sharing feelings and concerns
  • What the patient wants and needs
  • How much time each family member has to help out or visit
  • Ways each person can help and what other help might be available
  • Financial concerns about caregiving
  • Help for the main caregiver (meals, shopping, cleaning, laundry, yard work, childcare, etc.)
  • Who can take the patient for treatment or to doctor’s appointments
  • Who can help with sharing news and updates on the patient’s condition


La Roche-Posay created this article with materials sourced from the American Cancer Society, a trusted leader in cancer-related information and resources. La Roche-Posay is proud to partner with the American Cancer Society to provide cancer support resources and funding to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Program.
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