CAR T-Cell Therapy Care Partners: Tools for Accessing Support
CAR T-Cell Therapy Care Partners: Tools for Accessing Support from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
How can care partners access support during the CAR T-cell therapy process? Expert Dr. Amitkumar Mehta discusses the support patients may need during CAR T and resources for accessing patient and family support.
Dr. Amitkumar Mehta is Director of the Lymphoma Program and CAR T Program and Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Office at O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Learn more about Dr. Mehta.
See More from The Care Partner Toolkit: CAR T-Cell Therapy
Why Is a Care Partner Essential for Patients Undergoing CAR T-Cell Therapy?
How Is CAR T-Cell Therapy Changing the Myeloma Treatment Landscape?
What support services or resources are available for care partners of patients who are undergoing CAR T-cell therapy?
Unfortunately, I have to say that there are not that many support systems existing. It depends on the center most of the time. And, remember, that many of the centers – you know, CAR T is not offered at every community center.
Usually, they are certified centers. So, on an average, patients might have to travel to go to the center, right? So, it’s mainly center dependent. Now – and, you know, like, if I talk about my center, as I was mentioning, that I like to have the caregiver as a part of the process so they are aware what the patient is going through. Second person is – or second team person is our clinic nurse or CAR-T coordinator who actually talks to the patient in depth as well as patient’s caregiver.
Now, if you are living farther away from the center, three hours, four hours, five hours, in that case, where do I lodge myself, whether there is any other support system? We are going to stay here. Where I’m going to eat? Where is the center? Where do I have to them, whether I have to take them daily or not? So, those kinds of information is provided mainly by the center.
And centers also have many other support systems that we can tap in. The most important is to highlight is CAR T is not cheap. It’s very expensive treatment, right? So, there’s an extra step of insurance approval. Well, what is your copay? So, financial toxicity so to speak also come in picture and not only for the patients but their caregiver also.
We need to sit down if they need additional help. What other sources? What are the other agencies or maybe a local church or local community it can help? One other thing that our center has done, which has helped quite a bit, we have a patient ambassador. There was a patient who had gone through CAR T, and he had such an experience that he decided to offer his service to other patients who were going through CAR T. And he is always available.
So, he always – whenever he comes for the clinic visit and says “I’ll be happy to talk to anyone including his family, right, his mother and his father. They’re available that if [they support the patient], the caregiver, we would like to talk to them. And we would like to share our experience. And, if they have any questions, we can share the resources available to go through CAR T because, at the end, it’s a potentially curative option.