Caregiver Support May Lead to Better Outcomes for Both Patients and Caregivers

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A new study conducted by Dr. Areej El-Jawahri suggests that giving more attention to the needs of close family or friends caring for a patient (informal caregivers) has the potential to improve both the quality of life of the caregivers and the outcomes of the patients under their care. Dr. El-Jawahri’s study focuses specifically on informal caregivers of patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The intensive care needs of HSCT patients and the risks of infection, graft versus host disease, and return of the cancer present a great burden for informal caregivers, often lowering their quality of life. Dr. El-Jawahri’s study measures the effects of a new intervention to help lessen this burden. Participating caregivers met with medical professionals to learn practical caregiving skills and methods for self-care. The informal caregivers who participated in the intervention reported better mental and physical health and improved confidence in their ability to care for the patient and to cope with the emotional challenges inherent in providing that care. Further studies are needed to test the effects of the intervention with a larger pool of participants and with longer follow-up. However, this initial study shows promising results for both informal caregivers and the patients under their care. Read more...


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