The Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF) recently received a $10,000 tier-one grant from the Knight Cancer Institute to help identify and address the needs of caregivers in Lane County.
The reality is that cancer affects more than the person diagnosed with the disease, says Oregon Cancer Foundation Executive Director Amy Johnston. Caring for a family member or friend with cancer can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of support and educational resources available to caregivers in our community.
“Often, it’s their village that goes through the experience with them—their family members and friends who are caring for them. If we can identify what types of resources they need and then provide a roadmap on how and where to access that support, we can make the caregiving experience a little easier,” she says.
Supporting caregivers in meaningful ways
To help improve the situation, we will use the grant funding to identify what caregivers need and figure out ways to meet those needs through the following process:
- Information gathering
We will gather information from social workers, patient navigators, doctors and nurses in the community who work to guide patients and caregivers from diagnosis through survivorship. We will also speak with caregivers to gather information about their personal experiences and challenges. We will then create focus groups to further explore the most pressing issues.
- Creating and conducting a caregiver survey
Once the needs analysis is complete, we will compile the information to create survey questions, then distribute the survey to caregivers in the community. The goal is to receive 300 or more completed surveys. If you are a caregiver willing to participate in the survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Building solutions
Once the completed surveys are analyzed, we will move forward on creating solutions to address caregivers’ needs.
“We may discover that we can formulate a program or pieces of a program aimed at addressing specific issues, either with existing funding or additional grants,” Amy says. “Or, it might be that some of our partners in the community are in a better position to do that. By working together, we’re pooling our expertise in finding the best solutions.”
The entire process—from information gathering to solution planning—is expected to take about a year. If you are currently a caregiver or have been a caregiver to a cancer patient in the past and are interesting in completing the survey, please email email@example.com or call the Oregon Cancer Foundation office at 541-632-3654.