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CONTACT: ARIANNE NARDO
8788 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-7124
e-mail: anardo@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu

Release:  Nov. 5, 1999

UI Cancer Center sponsors educational support program for family caregivers

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The month of November offers a moment to recognize and appreciate family members who care for cancer patients at home. The University of Iowa Cancer Center and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center have embraced the sentiments behind National Family Caregivers Month by offering the "Strength for Caring" program, a two-part series that provides education and support for cancer caregivers. "Strength for Caring" classes take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22 in the Clasen Board Room at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.

This comprehensive, community-based program focuses on teaching family members how to provide quality, at-home care that some patients require after hospitalization. Complex treatments, such as home-administered chemotherapy, intravenous therapies and elaborate post-surgical care, can put added stress and responsibility on family caregivers. Through educational seminars and workshops, such as "Strength for Caring," health care professionals at the UI Cancer Center and VAMC hope to impart some of their knowledge and experience in patient care so that it benefits the family caregiver.

"Recent years have seen a trend toward releasing patients from hospitals earlier, which often places the burden of their care on family members," said Joy Sutter of the department of social services at the UI Cancer Center. "Our role is to identify the myriad of community resources and support services that can be invaluable to patients and their families, and to help them cope."

"Strength for Caring" addresses the emotional, physical and financial strain involved in home care and works to give participants a sense of ease in knowing that they are not alone in facing this challenge.

Originally developed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, "Strength for Caring" is a nationwide program funded by a grant from Ortho Biotech, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.

There is no cost for the two evening classes, but registration is required. To register, call (319) 356-3000. Refreshments will be served. For more information about the program, contact Linda Abbott at (319) 353-8188 or Joy Sutter at (319) 356-1730.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.