EMD Serono and American Cancer Society Collaborate to Support Needs of Cancer Caregivers

ROCKLAND, Mass., Nov. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Embracing Carers™, the global initiative designed to increase awareness, discussion, and action about the often-overlooked needs of caregivers, joined the American Cancer Society today to announce a collaboration that will support unpaid family caregivers who care for patients with cancer. Embracing Carers™ is an initiative of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates its biopharmaceutical business as EMD Serono in the US and Canada.

The collaboration will focus on two critical areas of need for cancer patient caregivers: the increasing responsibilities in managing medical-related tasks at home and the need for self-care to prevent burnout, depression, and isolation. Caregivers typically do not receive instruction or support for these topics, instead developing critical skills through trial and error. Caregivers also generally experience higher rates of clinical depression, premature aging, and chronic health conditions than the non-caregiving population, demonstrating the impact that the stresses associated with caregiving can have.

An eleven-part video series providing instruction on side effect management and medical best practices, will include topics such as treatment side effects, medication management, drain care, port care, maintaining sterility in bandage care, identifying signs of infection, managing pain and other treatment side effects, and medication management.

The video series will also provide advice on self-care and communication, including coping and stress management (anxiety, depression, fear of recurrence, anger), communication skills (how to ask for help, speaking with health professionals), intentional exercise, nutritious meal preparation, deep breathing and meditation, and seeking respite care.

"Across the world, countless caregivers care for loved ones with cancer every day and in every country," said Rachel Cannady, Strategic Director of Cancer Caregiver Support at the American Cancer Society. "In many situations, they do not know who to turn to – or are even aware that there are resources out there to help them. Aside from the patients themselves, their caregivers are often the only people who know everything that is going on with the patient. They link with the physician and health care team, coordinate the patient's care, and serve as the primary communicator to family, friends, and medical staff, all while trying to help their loved one live as normal a life as possible."

"Once the patient returns home from surgery or recurrent treatments, their caregivers perform at-home, medical-related tasks that they aren't trained or prepared for," Cannady continued. "This new partnership with Embracing Carers™ is a practical way to give caregivers new skills that will benefit the patient and themselves, enhancing the ability of the caregiver and the overall care of cancer patients."

"What we have seen is that the experience of caregiving is a universal one, but the specific skills that caregivers need can vary widely by illness," said Joe Horvat, Senior Vice President, Oncology for EMD Serono. "The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 1.7 million new cancer cases this year alone, which means millions of affected caregivers. We hope that the video series that we are unveiling today will make a difference in the lives of those who care for people living with cancer."

"We see caregiving as one of the most substantial – and yet largely unaddressed – public health issues of our time," Horvat continued. "Caregivers are the lynchpin of the health care system, and we want to shine a light on their roles, their needs, and the fact that there is help and support out there for them. We do this by collaborating with organizations that support caregiver initiatives, driving greater visibility and awareness of caregiver challenges, supporting increased policy attention and action, and creating innovative opportunities for health care system integration."

The development of this video package fills a deep gap. Consultation on the video content was provided by leading experts in the field of caregiving and employees of the American Cancer Society. To watch and share the video series please visit: www.cancer.org/caregivervideos.

About Embracing Carers™
Embracing Carers™ is a global initiative led by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operating as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore, and EMD Performance Materials in the United States and Canada. It is a collaboration with leading caregiver organizations around the world designed to increase awareness, discussion, and action about the often-overlooked needs of caregivers. Given that caregivers need support and often do not know where to turn for help, Embracing Carers™ was created to fill that void.

About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono - the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada – is engaged in the discovery, research and development of medicines for patients with difficult to treat diseases. The business is committed to transforming lives by developing and delivering meaningful solutions that help address the therapeutic and support needs of individual patients. Building on a proven legacy and deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, EMD Serono is developing potential new oncology and immuno-oncology medicines while continuing to explore potential therapeutic options for diseases such as psoriasis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Today, the business has approximately 1,300 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts. www.emdserono.com

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