Prostate Cancer Care Partners: Getting the Support You Need
Prostate Cancer Care Partners: Getting the Support You Need from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
What do care partners need to know to help care for their loved one AND themselves? This animated video reviews the role of a care partner, discusses steps for supporting a loved one and provides tips for maintaining self-care.
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Hi! I’m Anthony, and I am living with advanced prostate cancer. This is my nurse, Niki.
And this is my wife, Jane. She’s not just my wife, she’s also my care partner. From helping with my appointment schedule to communicating with my healthcare team, she works with me to manage my prostate cancer.
And many of you may be care partners like me. The goal of this video is to help you understand your role and to gain tools to help you support your loved one in their cancer journey. And that includes prioritizing your own self-care.
Niki, we’ve talked about some of the things I do to help Anthony, but how would you describe the role of a care partner?
A care partner is someone who works with their loved one on their care every step of the way – from diagnosis to survivorship.
It’s important to mention that anyone can play this role – friend, family member, or loved one – whomever you trust with supporting your health.
And there isn’t a single way be a care partner. You can provide support in a way that feels comfortable and natural to you.
Niki, what are some of the ways a care partner can help?
Yes – let’s review a few steps. Care partners can assist by:
- Learning about your loved one’s prostate cancer, so you can feel confident in participating in conversations and decisions. You can ask their healthcare team for educational resources.
- And participating in doctors’ appointments by taking notes and requesting post-visit summaries so that you can review the information presented.
- Next, helping your loved one access and use their patient portal and maintaining schedules and organizing medical records.
- Listening to your loved one and assist in weighing the pros and cons of care decisions.
- And monitoring your loved one’s emotional health.
That’s a great point, Niki. Sometimes a care partner will notice that their loved one is feeling low or acting differently before they notice anything themselves. Care partners can help communicate these issues to the healthcare team, and can even reach out to a mental health professional or social worker to help.
And that leads me to the next important step that many care partners often overlook: Taking care of yourself.
Right – and as we experienced firsthand, this is essential. Jane struggled with making time for herself after I was diagnosed, and it negatively impacted her health.
I was totally drained. But adding time for myself on the calendar and keeping up with my self-care appointments made me feel better. What else can you do?
- First, prioritize your health by scheduling and keeping your OWN health care appointment.
- Continue doing the activities that you enjoy – there are ways to make time in the schedule, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
- Find and use strategies that work for you to manage stress, like exercise, reading a book, or anything you find relaxing. Even a short walk with a friend can have a big impact.
- And make a list of tasks you can pass off to friends and family members who offer to help.
That’s great advice, Jane. I’ll also add that caring for a loved one can be challenging – it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talking with someone about how you’re feeling can make a difference. And speaking candidly and openly with other care partners in a support group setting can also provide comfort and peace of mind.
Just like Anthony sought the advice of a counselor and social worker, it’s important that Jane find that support SHE needs as a care partner.
We hope this video helped you gain tools and strategies for helping support a loved one – and yourself.
Download the guide that goes with this video to review what you learned.
And visit powerfulpatients.org/pc to access more videos with Niki and me.