ACS Caregiver Resources
By Jake Konigsberg
How does ACS help caregivers?
The aim of the American Cancer Society isn’t just to support those diagnosed with cancer, but all those affected by it. This mission encapsulates assisting patients, survivors, researchers, family and caregivers. Therefore, this post will focus on discussing ACS’s commitment to caregivers and the resources it has created to fulfill such a commitment.
ACS understands that the role of a caregiver is extremely difficult. As a caregiver, there are many questions and concerns you may have, information you may not know, and challenges you may face. ACS is here for you and provides a plethora of available resources that will meet all of your needs.
What resources are available?
- Caregiver Resource Guide– Provides a range of content from tips on effective caregiving techniques to productive communication and treatment information. The goal of this resource is to educate caregivers on what cancer patients are suffering through enabling them to better understand how to best help those afflicted. This resource is to be used to provide specific advice to caregivers on a need basis rather than used as a book. Another integral understanding of this guide is that being a caregiver is more than just focusing on the patient. You must also focus on yourself and your mental, physical, and emotional health – which this guide provides tips and advice on.
- Caregiver 101– This has all of the basic caregiving information in one place. It provides answers to many of the initial questions one may face when considering becoming a caregiver. In short, this product discusses in-depth that a caregiver is often a family member or friend of the patient and plays a vital part in the cancer care team handling many of the day-to-day care tasks. Similar to the Caregiver Resource Guide, the Caregiver 101 highlights the impact that being a caregiver also has on the caregiver themselves and ensuring that they understand the emotional, mental, and physical toll of their commitment.
- Communication Tips– Effective communication is necessary to ensure that you are always on the same page with the cancer patient and that you can assist them with their needs. It is also important that caregivers are both effective in speaking to patients and others, listening to them, and articulating needs. ACS provides tips on ways to communicate with patients and the rest of the cancer care team and recommends specific tools and strategies when struggling to communicate.
- Caregiver Distress Quiz– This is an eighteen item quiz to help caregivers understand the level of distress they are in. This quiz focuses solely on the caregiver to provide feedback on their level of emotional and mental health as being a caregiver is exhausting and can often leave you sacrificing your own health to help the patient, but you must remember to take your health into account.
- 24/7 Cancer Helpline (1-800-227-2345) – Our 24/7 hotline provides support for people dealing with cancer. Our Cancer Support Specialists are happy to answer questions or concerns from those diagnosed with cancer, caregivers having to provide for a loved-one, or healthcare professionals looking for support. Caregivers are encouraged to call 1-800-227-2345 for advice on how to advocate for their patient or find local resources to aid in stress or pressure caregiving may put on them.
Caregivers and Family
A cancer diagnosis greatly affects the afflicted and everyone around them.ACS has plenty more resources dedicated solely to providing help to ensure that the support team around the afflicted remains healthy and takes care of themselves also. This resource has a lot of core information, all from the perspective of the caregiver. This program provides information relating to how to effectively care for cancer patients, how to take care of yourself even as a caregiver and how to support someone with cancer. Among other topics this page details, they also provide a number of resources for the afflicted as a means to connect with others. While caregivers may try their best, it is often hard to fully understand the plight faced by patients and can be a burden on caregivers that is alleviated by resources such as the Cancer Survivors Network and the Reach to Recovery website.