“If there is one piece of advice I could offer carers, it would be that you must have a huge amount of patience.
- Patience with the person under your care
- Patience with the process they are going through
- Patience with the medical staff - they are truly magnificent
- Patience with family and friends who will continually tell you everything will be okay – with the best intentions”.
Tom’s wife was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2014 and he accompanied her to all medical, chemotherapy and radiation appointments, providing total support and sharing her familiarity of treatment.
Tom is a Cancer Council Victoria trained volunteer who provides free peer-support through Family Connect. This phone-based program is useful for carers to talk about practical tips, discuss concerns and challenges and to gain a better understanding of what to expect. When Tom shares his experience with others, it can give hope and motivation to keep going.
All volunteers in Family Connect participate in a peer-support training program that enhances their listening and communication skills. Role boundaries are clearly defined for them to refer to Cancer Council 13 11 20 when additional support is required. Part of the training includes a 3 hour session from Carers Victoria that focuses on the impact of caring. This allows participants to reflect on their own caring experience and how they can use this experience to help others.
The training ensures that the volunteers are ready to offer a listening ear to others, with the assurance of ongoing support and debriefing available.
To refer into the Connect programs, or find out more, email Cancer.Connect@cancervic.org.au or call 13 11 20 for cancer information and support.