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Curtin to provide cancer carers with additional support

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Curtin University researchers have been awarded $100,000 by the Cancer Council of WA to test the impact of a home-based support and education system upon the stress levels of carers of patients with high grade gliomas (brain tumours).

Dr Georgia Halkett, Senior Research Fellow at the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI), said that previous Curtin research had identified that carers for people with brain tumours were highly stressed and often unprepared for the role that they have taken on.

“We have found it quite common for carers to be more anxious than the patients and much of this anxiety resulted from having to take on healthcare responsibilities for their loved ones in a very short period of time,” Dr Halkett said.

“Patients with brain tumours cannot drive, they experience cognitive and behavioural changes and their survival rates are low. It can be very overwhelming for them and this is something we are keen to alleviate.

“We hope that by better informing and preparing the carer for the changes that some of their stress will be eased.

“Carers will receive home visits from a trained oncology nurse who will develop a comprehensive resource file with colour coded information for each carer’s individual needs and maintain ongoing phone contact and provide carers with individualised advice,” Dr Halkett said.

The grant is part of a record $2.8 million in research funding announced by the Cancer Council earlier this year. The project is being run in conjunction with medical oncologist Professor Anna Nowak from the School of Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

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