Social Worker Cathie Serena Speaks to The Express-Times About How to Help Caregivers Cope with Stress

If you have a sick loved one, the decision to care for them long-term can be an easy one to make.

But even with the best of motivations, caring for a long-term illness can bring on physical and emotional stress to the most devoted caregiver.

Cathie Serena, a licensed social worker with Lehigh Valley Health Network’s specialized palliative medicine service, OACIS Services, spoke to The Express-Times about ways health care services in the community can help caregivers cope with the stress and often anticipatory grief that accompanies long-term care. 

OACIS’ home-based consult services provides home-based assistance from certified registered nurse practitioners. The team learns about the patient’s goals, needs and treatment preferences, helps manage difficult symptoms, links patients with services in the community, and fosters communication so all members of the care team and family are working together in the best environment for the patient and caregivers.

“I don’t think any of us like to feel like we’re the only ones going through something,” Serena says. “It’s amazing how that knowledge can lighten the burden for someone to get up and do it all the next day. Sometimes that’s just what we need.”