Pour les aidants

Two young children, being held by their parents, hold hands with each other

Les effets de la maladie du foie sont ressentis par de nombreuses personnes, à de nombreux niveaux.

En tant qu’aidant d’une personne qui vit avec une maladie du foie, vous pouvez éprouver bon nombre des émotions que ressent votre proche : la peur, l’isolement ou même la colère. C’est pourquoi une partie de notre travail à la Fondation canadienne du foie est de vous aider à transformer ces émotions négatives en sentiments d’espoir et de force.

Pour éviter l’épuisement qui se manifeste souvent en cas de maladie, quel qu’en soit le stade, il est important de prendre soin non seulement du proche, mais aussi

de soi-même. Les informations contenues dans cette page visent expressément les aidants et traitent d’une foule de sujets, de ce à quoi il faut s’attendre aux programmes offerts par la Fondation canadienne du foie.

TPour demander d’autres ressources destinées aux aidants ou pour en savoir plus sur le soutien à votre disposition, contactez-nous.

liver questions
À quoi s'attendre  
Services de soutien
Services de soutien  
tips for liver health
TConseils pour vous  
liver health resources
Ressources additionnelles  

À quoi s’attendre

En tant que membre de la famille ou aidant qui s’occupe d’une personne souffrant d’une maladie du foie, vous devrez peut-être porter plusieurs chapeaux, ce qui signifie prendre en charge le soutien physique et émotionnel. Souvent, il faudra :

  • s’occuper des tâches domestiques, notamment l’épicerie, les repas, le ménage et la gestion des finances;
  • aider avec la toilette, le bain et l’habillage;
  • gérer les soins médicaux, y compris la tenue des dossiers médicaux et l’administration de médicaments;
  • surveiller les signes et les symptômes d’aggravation de la maladie du foie et des effets secondaires des médicaments;
  • fixer les rendez-vous médicaux;
  • conduire et accompagner la personne dont vous vous occupez à ses rendez-vous médicaux;
  • en apprendre plus sur les maladies du foie et communiquer avec les fournisseurs de soins de santé et de services sociaux pour le compte de votre proche;
  • écouter et offrir le soutien émotionnel nécessaire;
  • défendre les intérêts de votre proche dans toutes les situations.

Common questions and concerns for caregivers

As liver disease progresses, the scarring of the liver continues, and your loved one may develop symptoms and complications which may include:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, weight loss
  • A yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Itching (pruritus) which is primarily caused by retention of bile products in the skin
  • Fluid build-up and painful swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites)
  • Confusion and other mental changes, potentially leading to coma
  • Swelling or rupture of veins in the esophagus from increased blood pressure in the blood vessels
  • Weakness

Even when complications develop, they can often be treated. Please discuss treatment options with your loved one’s healthcare provider.

Before the appointment:

  • List of all new symptoms (when it started and what it feels like) that you would like to discuss at the appointment.
  • Write down all of the medication side effects your loved one is experiencing, and ask the doctor how to manage them.
  • List of questions/concerns and prioritize them (place them in order of importance).
  • Ensure you know how to prepare your loved one for medical procedure appointments (e.g. food and fluid restrictions).
  • Help your loved one make a folder of all the essential medical information (medical history, test results, medication information, upcoming procedures, medical tips/recommendations etc.) and bring them to your appointments.
  • Make arrangements and plan for how your loved one will be getting to and from their appointments.
  • If you are unsure, call the office beforehand to confirm the date and time of your loved one’s appointment.

During the appointment:

  • Take note of what is being discussed in case your loved one forgets any of this information.
  • Let the healthcare provider know about the presence of symptoms and ask how they can be treated.
  • Ask for clarification of any medical terms that you don’t understand.
  • When your loved one is prescribed a medication, ask about what the drug is for and whether there are any side effects and how you can lessen them.
  • Ask for clarification and interpretation of all test results.

Questions to ask:

  • How will treatment affect my loved one’s daily life?
  • Is there a special diet my loved one should be following or any foods/drinks they should avoid?
  • How can we contact you in case we have any questions between now and the next appointment?
  • Is there anything else we can do at home to slow down the progression of the disease?
  • Are there any activities that can help my loved one stay strong? What activities should be avoided?
  • What are the chances for success with the treatment you’ve provided?
  • What are the support services available to us?

There are over 100 liver diseases: some that are caused by viruses (such as hepatitis A, B and C), some that are inherited (like hemochromatosis, Wilson disease) and others that are caused by lifestyle and the environment. If your loved one has viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C), talk to your healthcare provider about prevention and getting immunized against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

For more information on specific liver diseases and how to protect yourself, please read our liver diseases section.

If your child has liver disease, the treatment varies with the cause. In general, your child’s physician may prescribe a special baby formula as well as vitamin supplements. Some metabolic diseases, such as galactosemia, require specific diets or drug treatments. For some diseases, such as biliary atresia, surgery on the liver is required.

In many cases, childhood liver diseases can be managed or controlled through diet, medications or other interventions. If the liver is too damaged to function effectively, a liver transplant may be necessary during the first year of your baby’s life.

Please talk to your healthcare provider regarding the specific diet and treatments your child may require.

A yellow discolouration of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) that does not disappear is a sign of ongoing liver disease and generally indicates severe liver problems. In an infant who appears to recover from a liver disorder, the return of jaundice is a sign of ongoing disease.

Viral infections and biliary atresia are extremely unlikely to affect more than one person in a family. Metabolic disorders of the liver are usually inherited and therefore may occur in more than one family member. Older children in the family should be checked for these diseases, and infants should be followed carefully after birth. Prenatal diagnosis is available for some of these disorders, and genetic counselling may be useful to families who have a history of hereditary liver disease.

For more information on specific liver diseases and to find which may be hereditary, please read our liver diseases section.

Caregiver holding hands

Tips for You

These helpful tips and recommendations were developed in part by people who have cared for those with liver disease.

Everyday tips

  • With new diagnoses, it’s important to do whatever it takes to get stabilized as soon as possible. This way, you can focus on what you need to do to change matters for the better.
  • Don’t be ashamed to ask for help with the role of caregiving. Seek out others who could possibly share the caregiving load with you in order to avoid burnout. This could be family members, neighbours, friends, or members of your social/religious circles. Consider weekly family meetings to keep your loved ones informed on important matters and to check in on how everyone is feeling. It’s also a great way to plan out special time for families to spend together.
  • Do not neglect your own needs, both emotional and physical. It is crucial to remember that you also need a break from the disease and the toll it can take on you. This includes continuing to do the things that bring you joy. The less neglected you feel, the better you are at helping your loved one achieve optimal health.
  • Knowledge is power. Read a lot and gain as much insight about your loved one’s condition as possible. In doing so, you become informed of the best ways to help them strive.
  • Give back to the community and volunteer for the Canadian Liver Foundation if you can.
  • Plan for the worst-case scenario but always hope for the best.

Emotional tips

  • Don’t lose hope. A positive mindset uncovers great change. Aim to take one day at a time and make the most out of every situation.
  • Understand that frustration placed on you by the one you are caring for is not purposeful or personal. The illness process takes a significant toll on one’s physical well-being, as well as their emotional well-being. Try your best to put yourself in their shoes.
  • Having a support network is vital for your own emotional wellbeing. The Canadian Liver Foundation is here to help you access resources like the Peer Support Network where you can connect with others who are going through the same experiences that you are.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings. Don’t be ashamed to reflect on the things going on in your life. Addressing your issues is the first step towards finding a solution. Also, when journaling, use colour. Colour makes life seem much brighter.
  • Start a list of coping skills that you either have or are willing to adopt in order to deal with and work through any stressors that may come your way. Visit this website to add more coping strategies to your list!
  • Spending time with the one you’re caring for is extremely important. You might not be actively doing anything, but the fact that they have somebody there with them during such a vulnerable time could do wonders for them.
  • Aim to take one day at a time and make the most out of every situation. Do not put an end to doing the things that make you happy.

Medical tips

  • Ask your healthcare provider, employer, social assistance worker, social worker or someone in your social circle to help you find the resources you need.
  • Do not leave the doctor’s office until you are fully satisfied with your understanding of the information provided.

Finances and other assistance tips

  • If your financial circumstances change, rent and mortgage payments may become difficult to manage. If you think that your housing situation will be affected due to a change in income, check with your bank or financial advisor to see if they may be able to provide some short-term solutions for you and your family.
  • Many employers belong to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and provide free counselling services to employees. Contact your benefits advisor at your workplace for details on how to access this support.
  • If your loved one becomes very sick or has difficulty getting dressed, walking or bathing, you may be able to have a nurse or home care provider come to your home, so your loved one does not have to enter a hospital. Talk to your healthcare provider who can arrange home care services. A nurse may be able to arrange for other support to allow your loved one to stay at home.

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Programmes et services de soutien

Lorsqu’une personne reçoit un diagnostic de maladie du foie, elle peut avoir de nombreuses questions sur son état, l’incidence sur son mode de vie, ainsi que les

traitements ou autres interventions disponibles. En tant qu’aidant, vous aurez sans doute les mêmes questions concernant la santé de votre ami ou du membre de votre famille. Il est important de savoir qu’une aide est disponible pour vous et votre proche.

Ligne d’aide nationale :
Cette ressource vous donne, à vous et à vos proches, un endroit où obtenir des réponses après le diagnostic, vous aide à comprendre la maladie et vous fournit les ressources dont vous avez besoin. Appelez au 1 (800) 563-5483 du lundi au vendredi, de 9 h à 17 h, heure de l’Est.

Réseau de soutien par les pairs :
Mis sur pied par la Fondation canadienne du foie, ce réseau national est composé de personnes atteintes d’une maladie du foie qui ont offert de partager leur expérience. Il permet aux Canadiens comme vous qui ont un membre de la famille ayant développé une maladie du foie, qui prennent soin d’une personne souffrant d’une maladie du foie ou qui ont reçu un diagnostic de maladie du foie de parler de leurs préoccupations avec quelqu’un vivant une situation similaire.

Si vous souhaitez être mis en contact avec un pair dans votre région ou vous joindre au réseau de soutien par les pairs, appelez la Ligne d’aide nationale au 1 (800) 563-5483 ou envoyez un courriel à Billie Potkonjak.

Le jouroù Matthew Ayuen, 17 ans, devait passer son examen pratique de niveau 2 (catégorie G2), la conduite automobile était le moindre de ses soucis. Matthew se trouvait, non pas derrière le volant, mais en chirurgie pour recevoir une partie du foie de son père.

Pendant la période stressante entre le diagnostic initial de cholangite sclérosante primitive (CSP) et la greffe, Matthew et sa famille ont participé au programme Vivre avec une maladie du foie de la Fondation canadienne du foie. Les séances leur ont permis d’entrer en contact avec d’autres personnes et familles ayant les mêmes préoccupations. Maintenant, Matthew et sa famille apportent leur propre contribution en prenant part aux efforts de sensibilisation et en aidant à recueillir des fonds pour la recherche et l’éducation sur le foie.

Vous cherchez du soutien ou des façons de redonner à votre communauté? Apprenez-en davantage sur les nombreux moyens d’aider.

Additional Resources

In Canada, all drugs must go through a drug review process, before they can be made available for sale to patients or access through publicly funded drug plans.  The drug review and approval process starts when a drug manufacturer submits an application to Health Canada. Health Canada scientists and other outside experts review the safety, effectiveness, quality, as well as the potential benefits and risks of the drug.  Once they agree that the drug is safe and effective, it is approved and issued a Drug Identification Number (DIN). The manufacturer is then able to sell the drug in Canada.

Once a drug has been approved by Health Canada, the manufacturer must submit an application to the Common Drug Review (CDR) if they wish to have their drug listed on publicly funded drug plans. The CDR reviews and makes recommendations as to whether new drugs should be covered under publicly funded drug plans. All provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec, participate in the CDR.  Once a recommendation is made, the provincial drug plans decide whether or not to include the drug on their provincial formulary.  Provincial drug plans are not required to follow the CDR recommendation, because each province and territory takes into account their own health care priorities and available resources.

Private health insurance or drug plans
If you have private health insurance or a drug plan at work, you may be able to have the medication paid through your plan. Please consult your private health insurance or drug plan provider to see if your drug is covered.

Publicly funded drug plans
Each province and territory has their own rules.  Some provincial drug plans provide coverage for individuals 65 and older, or those on social assistance.  Some provinces (e.g. Ontario) provide special support to low income individuals. Please call your Provincial Ministry or Department of Health to get more information about the terms of the publicly funded drug plan in your province. (see links on page 13 of the “How To Health Guide”)

Quebec public drug program
In Quebec, everyone must be covered by prescription drug insurance either through private or publicly funded plans.

Each provincial and territorial government offers a drug benefit plan for eligible groups. Some are income-based universal programs. Most have specific programs for population groups that may require more enhanced coverage for high drug costs. These groups include seniors, recipients of social assistance, and individuals with diseases or conditions that are associated with high drug costs. For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry, or click on the appropriate link below.

• Alberta(Prescription Drug Programs)
• British Columbia (Pharmacare)
• Manitoba (Pharmacare Program)
• New Brunswick (Prescription Drug Program)
• Newfoundland (Pharmaceutical Services)
• Northwest Territories (Drug coverage)
• Nova Scotia (Pharmacare)
• Nunavut (Drug coverage)
• Ontario (Drug Benefit Program)
• Prince Edward Island (Drug Cost Assistance Programs)
• Quebec (Prescription Drug Insurance)
• Saskatchewan (Drug Plan)
• Yukon (Insured Health)

Pharmaceutical companies
Some pharmaceutical companies provide medications to patients who cannot afford them or who do not have government or private insurance under the Compassionate Use Programs. Each program has its own terms for eligibility. Please talk to your doctor to see if you are eligible for such a program.

Available Patient Assistance Programs for Hepatitis C treatment
Abbvie Care 1 (844) 471-2273
– Holkira Pak (Ombivasvir/ paritaprevir/ ritonabir + dasabuvir)
– Maviret (Glecaprevir / pibrentasvir)

Gilead Momentum HCV Support Program 1(855) 447-7977
– SOVALDI (Sofosbuvir)
– EPCLUSA (Sofosbuvir / velpatasvir)
– HARVONI (Ledipasvir / sofosbuvir)
– VOSEVI (sofosbuvir / velpatasvir / voxilaprevir)

• MerckCare Hepatitis C Program 1 (866) 872-5773
– Zepatier (Grazoprevir / elbasvir)

Available Patient Assistance Program for Hepatitis B treatment
Gilead Momentum HBV Support Program 1 (888) 453-8885
– VEMLIDY (Tenofovir Alafenamide)

Available Patient Assistance Program for Primary Biliary Cholangitis treatment
• NAVIGATE Patient Support Program 1 (844) 628-4484
– OCALIVA (Obeticholic acid)

Knowledge is the Best Medicine (KIBM) is a program that helps you take control of your health and work with your prescriber and the rest of your healthcare team to manage your medicines safely and appropriately. This program is supported by leading health organizations in Canada who believe that an educated patient is a healthier patient.

KIBM products will enable you and your family to:

• Keep an up-to-date medication list with you at all times
• Communicate your medication/health related needs at each point of contact with the healthcare system
• Easily access medication/health related information

To learn more about Knowledge is the Best Medicine, click here.

If you, or someone you love and care for, are trying to find health services support or information for an illness or disease, there are actions you can take to help get the best possible health care. The Health Charities Coalition of Canada has prepared a How to Health Guide that can help you:

• Understand the health care system
• Find the information and services you need
• Talk with your doctor or health care provider
• Ask for a second opinion
• Manage your condition
• Pay for your medication
• Participate in a clinical trial
• Advocate and ask for the support you need

To download The How to Health Guide, click here.

The Canadian Biliary Atresia Registry (CBAR) is a collaboration between the Canadian Pediatric Hepatology Research Group (CPHRG) and the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (CAPS), the two well-established networks in Canada involved with the care of children with biliary atresia.

To view the Canadian Biliary Atresia Registry’s Resources for Patients and Parents, click here.