Mesothelioma Caregivers

Key takeaways: A mesothelioma diagnosis is sudden, life-altering, and saddening—both for patients and their loved ones. Caregivers, whether informally, like family, or formally, through live-in aids or medical assistants, are subject to emotional and physical stress. It’s imperative that mesothelioma caregivers prioritize their mental health, take ample time for themselves, and have a network to rely on.

What are the Roles of Mesothelioma Caregivers?

A mesothelioma caregiver is often a direct relative of the patient, like a spouse, adult child, or sibling. Usually, caregivers are responsible for the physical needs of the patient, like taking them to doctors appointments, ensuring that they’ve received prescribed medications, and even feeding or bathing the patients. In addition, caregivers often act as medical advocates, medical powers of attorney, emotional and spiritual lifelines, organizers of logistics (like handling insurance, bills, patient finances, etc.), among other complex emotional tasks.

Are there Resources for Caregivers?

1. Looking for local resources—like Meals on Wheels, community-based services, or charity-based programs—is an excellent start. These resources can provide money, food, medical equipment, and emotional support.
2. It’s estimated that caregivers spend approximately $12,000 yearly on their caregiving duties. Medicare and Medicaid usually offer different aid packages or insurance plans for caregivers of mesothelioma. In some instances, patients can “hire” their family member or friend to be their caregiver—this ensures that the caregiver is compensated.
3. Some states offer stipends for caregivers. Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging offers the Caregiver Support Program, which seeks to alleviate the financial burdens of caregiving, like having to take an extended leave from work or quitting your job.
4. The Family Caregiver Alliance has online videos for caregivers, akin to a “Crash Course” for common caregiver obstacles. They also have support groups, resources organized by state, and different federal programs all located on their website—this makes searching for resources more streamlined and efficient.
5. Oftentimes, the clinicians treating the patient have access to different caregiving resources. Perhaps their practice has a special stipend for caregivers, or they have an on-campus foodbank.

Always ask your doctors if they have access to further resources; they can at least put you in contact with social workers, therapists, or community resources.

How Can Mesothelioma Caregivers Care for Themselves?


1. The National Cancer Institute has a “Caring for the Caregiver” packet in which they detail resources for caregivers, how to maintain physical and emotional integrity, and how to create and rely on a network of loved ones.
2. The American Cancer Society has online resources for having difficult conversations, meaningfully engaging with caregiver duties, and learning how to balance caregiving with other tasks and life goals.
3. Speaking with a mental health professional can help you compartmentalize and process your caregiving tasks. Mental health professionals can help you establish healthy routines and coping mechanisms to help you manage caregiving tasks.
4. Asking for help prevents burnout and mental exhaustion. Rely on your friends, loved ones, and family members during this time. This could look like enlisting caregiving help a few days a week, hiring an in-home medical assistant, talking to your friends regularly, or relying on family members to fulfill unmet physical needs (like cooking meals or food shopping).

The process of caregiving is exceptionally difficult, but there are ample resources available. Check with your doctor, search for Pennsylvania-specific assistance, rely on your loved ones, and prioritize self-care.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please call The Halpern Law Firm at 1 (800)-505-6000. We are here to help you navigate the legal process of filing a claim to receive compensation for your cancer diagnosis. We help mesothelioma victims and their families in Pennsylvania.


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