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CancerCare Joins WellPoint Foundation to Improve the Health of Caregivers

  CancerCare Joins WellPoint Foundation to Improve the Health of Caregivers

   Help for Cancer Caregivers web tool provides personalized resources and
                                   support

Business Wire

NEW YORK & INDIANAPOLIS -- February 13, 2013

Sixty-five million Americans provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or
aged family member or friend during any given year.

Caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week caring for their loved one,
and they need resources to help them cope with the stress and personal health
challenges they are likely to encounter when caring for someone else.

Now, a new online tool is providing the information and resources caregivers
for loved ones with cancer need to care for their own health so they can be
there for those who need them most.

Called “Help for Cancer Caregivers,” the web tool walks users through a brief
survey and then provides personalized information to help monitor, track and
manage the personal health challenges they face as a result of their caregiver
role.

For example, if individuals respond that they feel overloaded by their
caregiver responsibilities, the web tool responds with information describing
the symptoms and causes of overload, as well as information on how to cope and
talk about overload with others.

Help for Cancer Caregivers was made possible through a $242,000 grant from the
WellPoint Foundation to CancerCare®, a national nonprofit that helps more than
100,000 individuals and families cope with cancer each year. The information
on Help for Cancer Caregivers was constructed through a collaboration between
experts at the Caregiver Action Network, Michigan State University, Indiana
University and WellPoint, Inc.

"As more and more patient care is being administered in the patient's own
home, caregivers are responsible for providing both emotional and practical
support," said CancerCare CEO Helen H. Miller, LCSW, ACSW. “Fewer than 15
percent of caregivers seek professional help in dealing with their own needs,
whether they be social, financial, physical, emotional or spiritual. The Help
for Cancer Caregivers web tool provides a wealth of information to help
caregivers avoid burnout and stress."

Studies show that Americans caring for a sick, elderly or disabled family
member, relative or friend suffer from poorer physical health than those who
do not have additional caregiving responsibilities. In fact, the level of
distress reported by many of those caring for someone with cancer can be equal
to or greater than that of the cancer patient.

“This tool is designed to improve caregivers’ well-being and their ability to
cope,” said Lance Chrisman, executive director of the WellPoint Foundation.
“Many caregivers don’t realize that it’s normal to feel some anxiety when they
are caring for a loved one, and there are things they can do to reduce that
stress, and make themselves healthier.”

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that caregivers in all age
groups who were employed full time were substantially more likely to
experience various common physical health issues – such as high blood
pressure, knee and back pain, than their non-caregiving counterparts.
Caregivers who provide five or more medical or nursing tasks were more likely
to report feeling depressed or helpless than those who perform fewer tasks,
according to “Home Alone,” a report from the AARP Public Policy
Institute/United Hospital Fund.

Other studies have found:

  *Caregivers show higher levels of depression;
  *Caregivers suffer from high levels of stress and frustration;
  *Stressful caregiving situations may lead to harmful behaviors;
  *Caregivers have an increased risk of heart disease;
  *Caregivers have lower levels of self-care; and
  *Caregivers have increased sickness and death.

Evidence has also shown that education and intervention reduce caregiver
strain, uncertainty and helplessness and that information helps normalize the
caregiver experience and enhances a sense of control.

Help for Cancer Caregivers can be accessed free-of-charge at
http://helpforcancercaregivers.org.

The online tool’s information can be accessed without registering; however
users are encouraged to create an account so they receive information tailored
to their personal situation. User information is kept confidential, and there
are no costs associated with creating an account.

“Caregiving can be a thankless job,” said Chrisman. “By providing this tool we
hope these selfless individuals can find the answers they’ve been looking for
and that over time the online resources will help create a dialogue about the
valuable role caregivers play in our families and communities.”

About CancerCare

Founded in 1944, CancerCare® provides free, professional support services to
individuals, families, caregivers, and the bereaved to help them better cope
with and manage the emotional and practical challenges arising from cancer.
CancerCare services include counseling and support groups, educational
publications and workshops, and financial assistance. All of our services are
provided by professional oncology social workers and are offered completely
free of charge. To speak with a CancerCare social worker, call 800 813 HOPE
(4673). Or, visit www.cancercare.org.

About WellPoint Foundation

The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and
through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the
inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of
individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its
affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic
initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care
challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a
multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical
conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care
in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long
term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes
prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations
and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual
associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates'
campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit
http://www.wellpointfoundation.org.

Contact:

CancerCare
Kyle Hornyak, 212.712.8347
khornyak@cancercare.org
or
WellPoint Foundation
Scott Larrivee, 262.523.4746
scott.larrivee@wellpoint.com
Twitter: @WellPointFDN_PR
 
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