Role of a KIT+ GIST Caregiver: Making an Important Difference
A team beyond your doctors and nurses
In addition to a team of healthcare professionals, you have a personal team of people who are there for you. This team includes family and friends—in particular your primary caregiver or caregivers, such as a spouse, child, relative, or close friend.
Caregivers, as well as family and friends, are perhaps the most important members of your team. They're the ones helping you with your daily needs, whether it's taking you to the doctor, supporting you when you feel depressed or frustrated, or just being there when you need someone to talk to.
What does a caregiver do?
The purpose of the caregiver is straightforward — to help a loved one, friend, or family member cope with cancer treatment. This simple definition, however, only begins to describe how essential a caregiver is to a patient's well-being.
Caring for a loved one is just something that caregivers do, a natural extension of their commitment to friends and family. But the caregiver is an essential part of the team, the one who is with the patient day in and day out, helping to cope with the myriad concerns that are bound to arise. Caregivers are a constant source of strength and support.
Taking on the caregiver's role
If you find yourself caring for someone with GIST, you're probably already involved in the treatment process—taking your loved one to the doctor, picking up medications, and offering support when he or she feels overwhelmed. Sometimes simple listening is what patients need most. Just having someone by their side helps them feel that they're not alone.
Many caregivers help loved ones maintain a folder containing health information. This can be shared with doctors and nurses on a regular basis.