Can We Help You? A Brief Intervention for Caregivers of Patients with Cancer


Primary Investigator:

Sara L. Douglas, PhD, RN
Arline H. & Curtis F. Garvin Professor and Assistant Dean of Research

Project Administrator:

Amy R. Lipson, PhD

Project Lead:

Jessica O. Surdam, MPH

Please note that the study recommends these websites, but we are not endorsing any organization or approach. Not all of the websites will apply to your situation. Thank you.

Photo of a cancer patient embracing his caregiver.

Caregivers of patients with advanced cancer not only cope with the traditional responsibilities of caregiving, but they are faced with additional concerns related to the potential loss of their loved one. For some, their prolonged responsibilities have been shown to influence their emotional and/or physical quality of life over time.

One strategy shown to help has been the use of mindful meditation. Mindful meditation has been shown to help some individuals become more self-aware and, as a result, help their emotional and physical health.

As a participant in this study, we are asking you to participate in two types of activities over the 30 day study period.

  • First, we are asking you to participate in mindful meditation every day using the Stop, Breathe, & Think™ app.  You can use this whenever it is convenient to you, for whatever amount of time seems appropriate, and as many times/day as you would like. You should have already received your instructions for using this application.
  • Second, we are also providing you access to a few websites that are focused upon common questions that caregivers of patients with advanced cancer often raise. These questions are not intended to be a substitute for any conversations or questions that you may have for your loved ones healthcare providers, family members, or other support member of your family and care team. Instead, we are providing you access to established links that discuss such topics as advance care planning and issues that caregivers of patients with cancer often have questions about. Please access any links that are of interest to you and your family.
    • Advance Directives:  Plan Today for Tomorrow:  Many people do not understand what advance directives are, what they mean, and how they might be helpful to families.  Watch this brief video for a brief presentation that answers these questions:
    • What Do Advance Directives Look Like?: This link provides you with a form that can be completed for advance directives in the State of Ohio:  Similar forms for different states can also be found on this website (
    • How to Care for Someone With Cancer and Care for Yourself:  The American Cancer Society offers a variety of online resources to address issues and concerns that are unique to those who are family and/or caregivers of people with cancer:
    • Conversations With Your Loved One About Their Values? — What Matters to Them — Not What's the Matter With Them: The "Conversation Project" ( is focused upon helping families have conversations about what is important to them regarding advance care directives and how best to make healthcare decisions that are consistent with individual and family values. This brief video presents some ways for families to think about such conversations: