What’s the problem?
“The number of people looking after someone with cancer in the UK has soared from around 1.1 million in 2011 to almost 1.5 million today.
More than half of carers aren’t getting the support they need and the situation is getting worse.
Around 110,000 people in the UK are part of a sandwich generation of carers – caring for a parent with cancer while also looking after their own children.” (MacMillan, no date)
Carers could be in many different shapes and forms, types of relationship, levels of responsibility and proximity to different matters. Most of the time the responsibility falls on the closest members of the patient’s family. Sometimes friends or professional carers have to step in and assist the patient.
The common area for the carer is that he/she is expected to be friendly to the patient and support with ordinary and extraordinary tasks that are involved in the life of the patient. These tasks comprise not only accompanying the patient to hospital appointments and medical procedures, but also communicating with different parties. These include the patient’s working place, the doctor and nurses treating the patient, other members of the family and network of friends who need to know… Carers sometimes become the main financial support to a patient.
Carers also can be particularly helpful in understanding and passing on instructions to patients when they feel overwhelmed and confused. They may actually be in charge of administering the medication or taking patients in and out of hospitals and appointments.
Carers also are the closest support to the patient, to offer hope and encouragement when they are confused and afraid.
The role of carers is invaluable to the patient, many of them are not recognised as carers at all, and those who are identified as carers receive very little recognition and support from society.
“Cancer carers are now spending an average of 17.5 hours a week looking after someone with cancer, 2.5 hours more than in 2011.” (MacMillan, 2016)
Id carers are core in the success of the therapy and the healing of patients, that means that they are also core to the NHS and other Cancer practitioners. It also means that they are saving money to the health system and to the patients in very substantial amounts.
Therefore, the role of Cancer Carers most be brought onto the discussion to produce clear and effective measure which will assist them in their valuable role.
- MacMillan (no date) Carers. Available on line at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/carers”
- MacMillan (2016). Under Pressure. Available on line at: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/documents/campaigns/under-pressure-the-growing-strain-on-cancer-carers-macmillan-cancer-support-september-2016.pdf