Caregivers of Geriatric Patients with Cancer Are Under-Recognized But Critical Members of the Care Team

November 20, 2020
Jessica Skarzynski

Caregivers for geriatric patients with cancer are vital members of a patient's care and support system, but often don't get the recognition they deserve.

Older patients with cancer are sure to count their doctors and nurses as vital members of their care teams. But according to Dr. Grant Williams, caregivers are just as important to the overall health of a geriatric patient and should be recognized as such.

Given their proximity to the patient, Williams explained, a caregiver is in the unique position to help a patient focus on the things they can work on in addition to treatment, such as maintaining their nutrition and staying physically active. In an interview with CURE®, Williams went on to note that caregivers should keep in mind that a comprehensive approach to treatment that isn’t solely focused on the cancer is what makes all the difference.

Transcription:

I think that's a great question. You know, caregivers are incredibly important to the overall care and to the team. And that's true, frankly, for all patients.

I think seeking out information and going to places that recognize kind of this comprehensive and global approach to treatment, that isn't just focused on the cancer, but also focused on the person, I think is important. You know, that's variable across places that you may go to.

I also think, for patients and caregivers, focusing on the things that you can alter and improve. And for me, a lot of times, that is the nutrition and the physical activity pieces, to maintaining strength and activity and maintaining nutrition to the best that they can.

And I think just being there as a caregiver is critically important, whether that's emotionally or physically, all of those things. I mean, I think it's an often underrecognized and underappreciated critical aspect of care.

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