Cancer Survivorship and Supportive Services Program

John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center

Grant: $40,000

Informal and/or family caregivers are a fundamental source of supportive care emotionally, physically, and financially for cancer patients. However, many of these informal caregivers experience considerable stress and are at high risk for poor mental and physical well-being. Moreover, the caregiver’s daily tasks, psychosocial needs, resources, and health outcomes are not well supported or understood. With a growing population of survivors and their caregivers, the cancer community has made understanding and better serving the increasing roles and demands of cancer caregiving a priority. Therefore, the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center plans to establish a Los Angeles Cancer Caregiver Consortium (LA3C), whose goal will be to address this unmet need of mental health and well-being for cancer caregivers. LA3C will convene and engage a diverse group of stakeholders and leaders in multiple sectors that most influence and are affected by cancer caregiver mental health. The stakeholders will include patients and caregivers, mental and behavioral health practitioners, non-profits, for profits, and faith-based groups that provide resources and support to cancer caregivers across the continuum of care. The group will develop a training program as well as collate and make available resources for primary caregivers and other professionals on how to identify loneliness, social isolation, and other psychosocial issues in patients, how to communicate the physical and mental health risks of isolation and prescribe contextually appropriate measures. Lastly, John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center’s will host two caregiver-directed training sessions for members of the community. By providing education and training for these professionals on how to best identify, intervene, and provide referrals to behavioral health services for caregivers in their communities, the program has the potential to have downstream impact on tens of thousands of cancer caregivers in the region, including those from underserved communities.