Episode 5: Caring for Caregiver

When caring for a loved one with serious illness, caregivers focus intensely on the patient. Without checking in on the caregiver, the health care team may be overlooking the importance this has. Laurelea was the caregiver for her husband Steve. As Steve was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer, he had to stop taking antidepressants to start treatment of his disease. Laurelea describes the mental darkness that Steve experienced, and how it was difficult for her to find the support needed. Since the death of her husband, Laurelea continues to advocate for system changes to provide psychosocial support for patients and caregivers.

Dori, Giovanna and Irene describe practical solutions for treating the patient as a whole person and acknowledging the caregiver. The doctors talk about how treatment of disease differs from providing good care; the consideration of psychological, social, emotional and spiritual conditions. The hosts discuss how the vocabulary and imagery of “fighting” can make a patient feel responsible for the outcome of their illness.