One in five adults is a caregiver for a family member that is experiencing a chronic disease. Caregiving runs the gamut of disease states from ADHD among children 6-17 to patients with lung cancer, adults with Alzheimer's and mental health issues, etc. The common denominator is that these caregivers are dedicated to helping their loved ones find appropriate treatments and to helping them make important healthcare decisions. These caregivers are looking for information that will aid them in how they work with these patients. Pharma can, and often does, play an important role in providing this information.
Caregivers of ADHD Children Ages 6-17
ADHD is a condition that affects over 6M children in the United States. It can have profound effects on the lives of these children, including their ability to focus and perform in school. Lacking successful treatment, this will impact their lives going forward.
Companies like Supernus support information delivery through channels such as ADHD Awareness month. Supernus also works with ADHD spokesperson, Holly Robinson Peetein as she speaks about treatment for the condition. As a caregiver to her child who suffers from the condition, she has firsthand experience. On talk programs, she advises caregivers to go to patient information sites like https://www.moretoadhd.com/ to learn about how they can help their children treat the condition.
Outreach efforts like these are vital, as caregivers seek to learn more about methods to help the patient cope with the condition. Our research shows that a very high percentage (generally over 70% of caregivers) will speak to an HCP about information that they gather from sources such as this.
Caregivers of Patients with Schizophrenia
Caregivers working with schizophrenic patient face particularly serious problems. In many cases, the patient is unable or willing to seek help for the condition and may even be resistant to treatment. In such cases, the caregiver is often looking for guidance on how to manage the situation. Caregiver support groups and education are particularly useful to this group. It is also important for Pharma to recognize that communication about new forms of medication will often be more effective when directed toward this group, rather than the patient group.
Studies show that caregivers for patients with mental issues often face particularly serious issues in their efforts to help a loved one. This can include financial difficulty, health issues, social problems, and also trigger mental health issues. Often, they find themselves isolated without support from others. Many of these caregivers do not know how to get help even from healthcare professionals.
Our research shows that for many of these people, online sources can be a lifeline connecting them with information, advocacy groups, treatment information, support groups, etc. Surprisingly, there continues to be relatively limited support for caregivers through online channels.
Providing Emotional Support
AstraZeneca recognized the need to provide support to caregivers in the oncology space. In 2020, it launched the “Notes of EnCOURAGEment” campaign designed to encourage both patients and their caregivers to stick to important therapy. “Our insights revealed that caregivers often need just as much support as patients,” Shubh Goel, AZ’s U.S. franchise head for immuno-oncology and GI tumors, said in an interview. “They face similar anxieties about making the best treatment decisions and experience similar feelings of isolation.” (Fierce Pharma report)
When crafting information for patients that are likely to be helped by caregivers, it is critical to understand where they gather that information and how the messaging is developed in a way that will be most useful. Often, Pharma companies can use information/education channels. Websites are also a terrific way to deliver information. Over 47% of caregivers gather information from this source, which is used in their discussions with HCPs. Critically, all this information must be used to empower and not manipulate caregivers in their treatment considerations. Healthcare systems should make caregivers aware of the options that are available to them and the patients that they support.