|[February 13, 2013]
CancerCare Joins WellPoint Foundation to Improve the Health of Caregivers
NEW YORK & INDIANAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--
Sixty-five million Americans provide care for a chronically ill,
disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.
Caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week caring for their loved
one, and they need resources to help them cope with the stress and
personal health challenges they are likely to encounter when caring for
Now, a new online tool is providing the information and resources
caregivers for loved ones with cancer need to care for their own health
so they can be there for those who need them most.
Called "Help for Cancer Caregivers," the web tool walks users through a
brief survey and then provides personalized information to help monitor,
track and manage the personal health challenges they face as a result of
their caregiver role.
For example, if individuals respond that they feel overloaded by their
caregiver responsibilities, the web tool responds with information
describing the symptoms and causes of overload, as well as information
on how to cope and talk about overload with others.
Help for Cancer Caregivers was made possible through a $242,000 grant
from the WellPoint Foundation to CancerCare®, a national
nonprofit that helps more than 100,000 individuals and families cope
with cancer each year. The information on Help for Cancer Caregivers was
constructed through a collaboration between experts at the Caregiver
Action Network, Michigan State University, Indiana University (News - Alert) and
"As more and more patient care is being administered in the patient's
own home, caregivers are responsible for providing both emotional and
practical support," said CancerCare CEO Helen H. Miller,
LCSW, ACSW. "Fewer than 15 percent of caregivers seek professional help
in dealing with their own needs, whether they be social, financial,
physical, emotional or spiritual. The Help for Cancer Caregivers web
tool provides a wealth of information to help caregivers avoid burnout
Studies show that Americans caring for a sick, elderly or disabled
family member, relative or friend suffer from poorer physical health
than those who do not have additional caregiving responsibilities. In
fact, the level of distress reported by many of those caring for someone
with cancer can be equal to or greater than that of the cancer patient.
"This tool is designed to improvecaregivers' well-being and their
ability to cope," said Lance Chrisman, executive director of the
WellPoint Foundation. "Many caregivers don't realize that it's normal to
feel some anxiety when they are caring for a loved one, and there are
things they can do to reduce that stress, and make themselves healthier."
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that caregivers in all age
groups who were employed full time were substantially more likely to
experience various common physical health issues - such as high blood
pressure, knee and back pain, than their non-caregiving counterparts.
Caregivers who provide five or more medical or nursing tasks were more
likely to report feeling depressed or helpless than those who perform
fewer tasks, according to "Home Alone," a report from the AARP Public
Policy Institute/United Hospital Fund.
Other studies have found:
Caregivers show higher levels of depression;
Caregivers suffer from high levels of stress and frustration;
Stressful caregiving situations may lead to harmful behaviors;
Caregivers have an increased risk of heart disease;
Caregivers have lower levels of self-care; and
Caregivers have increased sickness and death.
Evidence has also shown that education and intervention reduce caregiver
strain, uncertainty and helplessness and that information helps
normalize the caregiver experience and enhances a sense of control.
Help for Cancer Caregivers can be accessed free-of-charge at http://helpforcancercaregivers.org.
The online tool's information can be accessed without registering;
however users are encouraged to create an account so they receive
information tailored to their personal situation. User information is
kept confidential, and there are no costs associated with creating an
"Caregiving can be a thankless job," said Chrisman. "By providing this
tool we hope these selfless individuals can find the answers they've
been looking for and that over time the online resources will help
create a dialogue about the valuable role caregivers play in our
families and communities."
Founded in 1944, CancerCare® provides free, professional support
services to individuals, families, caregivers, and the bereaved to help
them better cope with and manage the emotional and practical challenges
arising from cancer. CancerCare services include counseling and
support groups, educational publications and workshops, and financial
assistance. All of our services are provided by professional oncology
social workers and are offered completely free of charge. To speak with
a CancerCare social worker, call 800 813 HOPE (4673). Or, visit www.cancercare.org.
About WellPoint Foundation
The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and
through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes
the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and
well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint,
Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its
funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative
solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy
Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets
specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and
medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low
birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that
decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in
adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and
smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual
associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates'
campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please
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