HEALTH MANAGEMENT OF INFORMAL CAREGIVERS OF CANCER PATIENTS : A REFLECTIVE REVIEW
An informal caregiver is an unpaid individual who can be a family member, a friend or a neighbor involved in assisting the patient with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. As cancers have been identified as one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide, it has tightened its grip in India too. Experts have predicted that the incidence of cancer would raise five- fold by the year 2025. With the rise of cancer cases in India, the need for informal caregiving for cancer patients would also take a leap. With the role of informal caregiving, come a lot of responsibilities and insurmountable tasks that need to be performed. Caring for a beloved member of the family or a friend who is suffering from a deadly disease is in itself a big challenge. Taking on new responsibilities on one hand and worrying about the future can be very exhausting at the very least and might quickly lead to numerous psychological and physical problems for the caregivers of the cancer patients. The main question that haunts us is that when you are busy taking care of your beloved person with cancer, then who is managing your own health. Keeping in mind the same concern, a number of studies, review articles and meta-analysis of studies pinpointing on the health management of informal caregivers were considered for perusal. Thus, the present review paper aims to contribute to the society at large, by focusing on studies that discuss the effects of various types of intervention plans that have been applied on the caregivers of cancer patients. It also throws light on the various caregiving skills, care demands, caregiving tasks and certain other factors that need to be considered before coming up with the intervention strategies for managing the overall health of the informal caregivers of cancer patients.