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Caregivers

Mrs. Chantal LeBlanc

Mrs. Chantal LeBlanc has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Sciences from Concordia University as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from McGill University. She received a Master’s degree in Social Work from McGill University in 2009. Mrs. LeBlanc has been a professional social worker for 22 years, including 3 years in a clinical supervisory role. Her clinical practice has encompassed the areas of home care for elderly people as well as adults with physical and intellectual impairments. For the past 6 years, she has practiced in the field of oncology at the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal.

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Ms. Bonnie Tompkins

Ms. Bonnie Tompkins was the sole caregiver to her late partner, who passed away from cancer in May 2014. She recently graduated in public health from Brock University and now works with her local hospice to help increase access to needed assistance for patient and their caregivers. She is especially interested in caregivers, as she suffered caregiver burnout. Her passion is to use her late partner’s and her own experiences to help people in similar situations, hopefully lessening their stress.

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Caregivers of those with cancer may find themselves taking on many roles and responsibilities. These roles can include:

  • providing emotional support, physical care and cognitive/informational support
  • acting as a medical researcher, financial manager and advocate
  • facilitating communication with medical professionals and other family members
  • assisting in the maintenance of social relationships

Caregiving roles can be influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • how the caregiver entered into this role
  • their past and present relationships with those they care for
  • their personality and the personality of those they care for
  • their current life situation
  • the support or lack of emotional and practical support available to the caregiver
  • their financial resources
  • their own health
  • the health and care needs of the person for whom they are caring

The caregiving role may change over the course of the cancer and its treatment, as can the tasks that they take on. At the time of diagnosis, caregivers may find themselves in “crisis” mode as they attempt to understand the full breadth of the disease. Eventually, most caregivers fall into a rhythm of care, which can be a time to focus on other issues including balancing work and caregiving, maintaining quality of life, and self-care.