Caring for the Caregiver Area​​


Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (Directions)

The Caregiver Clinic is run through the Psychosocial Oncology Clinic


Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm​


Phone: 416 946 4525

What We Do

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Cancer & COVID

Caring for a family member with cancer can be extremely stressful. Research studies have shown that family caregivers often report the same emotional distress as cancer patients themselves, if not more. To address the needs of family caregivers, the Caregiver Clinic was founded in 2017.

The Caregiver Clinic operates within the Psychosocial Oncology Clinic. It was created to provide clinical care, research and education to meet the needs of family caregivers.

How to Get Referred

Adult family members of cancer patients who are seen at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre can be referred to the Caregiver Clinic.

Family caregivers referred to the Caregiver Clinic will be booked a one-on-one appointment with a member of our team to identify their individual needs and receive education and support.

  • Health care providers: You can refer adult family members of Princess Margaret patients to the clinic by sending a referral to Psychosocial Oncology via Epic under cancer patient’s chart and indicating the referral is for their caregiver, or you can complete the Caregiver Clinic Referral Form (also available from the UHN intranet) and email it to:
    Please note that our main focus is supporting caregivers of patients who are not seeking referral to the Psychosocial Oncology clinic themselves. If a patient has already been referred to the Psychosocial Oncology clinic, we kindly request refraining from issuing a referral for the caregiver. The Psychosocial Oncology clinician assessing the patient will refer the caregiver to the Caregiver Clinic for additional support if deemed necessary.
  • Family Caregivers: To get referred, please contact a Princess Margaret Cancer Centre health care provider on the patient's medical team and request a referral to the Caregiver Clinic. We will call or e-mail you and give you a time for your first appointment.

Although family caregivers of patients who are treated outside of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre cannot be referred to our clinic, they may benefit from our resource page.​​​​​

What to Expect During Your First Visit

Your first appointment will be about 1 hour and will be over the phone or by video (using Microsoft Teams).

You will be seen by a psychologist. The psychologist will ask you some questions to understand your main concerns and support needs. At the end of the appointment, you and the psychologist will discuss a plan to address your needs. This plan can include suggestions or referrals to other resources within the hospital or the community.

Please note that due to limited resources, long-term individual psychotherapy or bereavement support is not offered at this time. However, the psychologist​ can help connect you to appropriate resources if you need this type of support.​​

How to Prepare for a Virtual Visit

To make sure that the information you share is kept private and to make the most of the visit:

  • Join your virtual appointment from somewhere that is private, where others cannot overhear you.
  • Try to use a secure internet connection (like from your home) instead of connecting to the internet in public places (like from a library).
  • Remove any sources of distraction around you before your virtual visit. It can help to turn off phone notifications and other computer programs that you do not need for the visit. You can tell others in advance that you are not available to answer their calls or messages during the time of your virtual visit.
  • Join the virtual visit from Ontario. You must be in Ontario during your phone or video appointment.​​

​Caregiver Resources

Please note: All resources listed below are provided free of charge.​

Practical Support
In-Person/Online Support Programs
Self-Guided Online Support
Peer Support (Offered In-Person/Online)
Support for Specific Cancers
Caregiving and Work
Supporting Young Families and Children
Self-Guided Online Support for End of life & Grief
In-Person/Online Support for End of Life & Grief
Supporting Children Through Dying and Death of a Parent

Health Information

Resources from the Patient and Family Education Program Small PDF Icon

    *These material(s) are also available in other languages. Access health information in other languages »

    Resources from this Clinic

      Resources from the Community

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          The Team

          Caregiver Clinic Co-Leads: Rinat Nissim, PhD, C. Psych (Psychologist) & Sarah Hales, MD, PhD, FRCPC (Psychiatrist)


          Academic Publications

          1. Lamarche J, Cusson A, Nissim R, Avery J, Wong J, Maheu C, Lambert S, Laizner A, Jones J, Esplen MJ, Lebel S. (2023). It’s Time to Address Fear of Cancer Recurrence in Family Caregivers: Usability Study of a Virtual Version of the Family Caregiver-Fear of Recurrence Therapy (FC-FORT). Frontiers in Digital Health, 5, p.1129536.
          2. Stragapede, E., Petricone-Westwood, D., Hales, S. et al. (2023). Patient quality of life and caregiver experiences in ovarian cancer: How are they related?. Quality of Life Research 32, 3521–3529
          3. Chow R, Mathews JJ, Cheng EY, Lo S, Wong J, Alam S, Hannon B, Rodin G, Nissim R, Hales S, Kavalieratos D. Quinn KL, Tomlinson G, Zimmermann C. (2023). Interventions to Improve Outcomes for Caregivers of Patients with Advanced Cancer: a Meta-Analysis. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Jun 5:djad075.
          4. Tong E, Nissim R, Selby D, Bean S, Isenberg-Grzeda E, Thangarasa T, Rodin G, Li M, Hales S. (2023). The impact of COVID-19 on the experiences of patients and their family caregivers with medical assistance in dying in hospital. BMC Palliative Care 22 (1), 1-8.
          5. Nissim R, Hales S. (2023). Caring for the Family Caregiver: Development of a Caregiver Clinic at a Cancer Hospital as Standard of Care. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 30(1), 111-118.
          6. Parry M, Beleno R, Nissim R, Baiden D, Baxter P, Betini R, Bjørnnes A, Burnside H, Gaetano D, Hemani S, McCarthy J, Nickerson N, Norris C, Nylén-Eriksen M, Owadally T, Pilote L, Warkentin K, Coupal A, Hasan S, Ho M, Kulbak O, Mohammed S, Mullaly L, Theriault J, Wayne N, Wu W, Yeboah E, O'Hara A, Peter E. (2023). Mental health and well-being of unpaid caregivers: a cross-sectional survey protocol. BMJ Open 13:e070374
          7. Papadakos J. Samoil D, Umakanthan B, Charow R, Jones J, Matthew A, Nissim R, Sayal A, Giuliani M. (2022). What are we doing to support informal caregivers? A scoping review of caregiver education programs in cancer care. Patient Education and Counseling, 105(7):1722-1730.
          8. Jibb L, Nanos S, Alexander S, Malfitano C, Rydall A, Gupta S, Schimmer A, Zimmermann C, Hales S, Nissim R, Marmar C, Mah K, Rodin G. (2022) Traumatic stress symptoms in family caregivers of patients with acute leukaemia: protocol for a multisite mixed methods, longitudinal, observational study. BMJ Open 12:e065422.
          9. Mah K, Swami N, Pope A, Earle C, Krzyzanowska M, Nissim R, Hales S, Rodin G, Hannon B, Zimmermann C (2022). Caregiver bereavement outcomes in advanced cancer: Associations with quality of dying and death and patient age. Supportive Care in Cancer. 30 (2), 1343-1353.
          10. Thangarasa T, Hales S, Tong E, An E, Selby D, Isenberg-Grzeda E, Li M, Rodin G, Bean S, Bell J , Nissim R. (2022). A Race to the End: Family Caregivers’ Experience of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) - a Qualitative Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 37(4), 809-815.
          11. Nissim R, Hales S, Rodin G. (2021). Caregiver burden and distress. In: Cherny N, Fallon M, Kaasa S, Portenoy R, Currow D. eds. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 6th ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Pages: 303-312.
          12. Li M, Balboni T, Nissim R, Rodin G. (2021). Validated assessment tools for psychological, spiritual, and family issues. In: Cherny N, Fallon M, Kaasa S, Portenoy R, Currow D. eds. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 6th ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Pages: 1216-1232.
          13. Goldberg R, Nissim R, An E, Hales S. (2021). The impact of medical assistance in dying (MAID) on family caregivers. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care. 11, 107-114
          14. Mohammed S, Swami N, Pope A, Rodin G, Hannon B, Nissim R, Hales S, Zimmermann C. (2018). “I didn’t want to be in charge and yet I was”: Family caregivers’ experiences of providing end-of-life home care. Psycho-Oncology, 27 (4), 1229-1236.
          15. McDonald J, Swami N, Pope A, Hales S, Nissim R, Rodin G, Hannon B, Zimmermann C. (2018). Caregiver quality of life in advanced cancer: Qualitative results from a trial of early palliative care. Palliative Medicine, 32 (1), 69-78.
          16. Nissim R, Hales S, Zimmermann C, Deckert A, Edwards B, Rodin G. (2017). Supporting caregivers of advanced cancer patients: A Focus group study. Family Relations, 66 (5), 867-879.

          Our Research

          Research has always been a cornerstone of our work. Our goal is to learn more about the needs of family caregivers and to test innovative approaches to address these needs, so that we can help improve lives of caregivers and the patients they are caring for.

          We have numerous ongoing research studies currently seeking volunteer participants. We invite you to browse through the list below to search for studies that may interest you.

          Want to participate or be involved in research, but aren’t eligible for any of the studies listed below? Email us at:, so that we can get in touch with you about upcoming research opportunities that you may eligible for.

          Actively Recruiting Studies

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          Last reviewed: 4/1/2024
          Last modified: 4/2/2024 7:30 AM
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