Project 3: This project on Family Caregiving in Lung Cancer in conducted in concert with Projects 1 and 2 focused on Early Stage and Late Stage disease. The burden on caregivers of patients with lung cancer, both early and late stage, has been documented as very significant and few studies have addressed the specific needs of family caregivers in this population. Conducting this project simultaneously has great synergy allowing access to family caregivers of lung cancer patients, a group rarely studied.
The aims of this research are:
Aim 1 : Test the effects of a Family Caregiver Palliative Care Intervention (FCPCI) for informal caregivers of patients with early and late stage lung cancer on caregiver burden and caregiving skills preparedness as compared to a group of FC in a usual care situation.
Aim 2 : Test the effects of a FCPCI for informal caregivers of patients with early and late stage lung cancer on FC quality of life and psychological distress as compared to a group of FC in a usual care situation.
Aim 3 : Describe early and late stage FC self care behavior, comparing the usual care and FCPCI groups.
Aim 4 : Describe resource use by early and late stage FC in the two FCPCI and usual care groups.
Aim 5 : Identify subgroups of FC who benefit most from the FCPCI in relation to sociodemographic characteristics, clinical/functional factors. A two group, prospective sequential, quasi-experimental tandem enrollment design will be used for this study in which the usual care group is accrued and followed during Phase 1 and the intervention group is accrued and followed during Phase 2. Family caregivers will be accrued (N=533) in conjunction with the Early and Late Stage patient projects. The study will examine the effects of the FCPCI on critical caregiver outcomes and in unique in addressing not only emotional support and informational needs but also skill preparedness and self care. The FCPCI builds upon >20 years of related research by the investigators and a recently concluded pilot test of QOL and symptom concerns in lung cancer.
This project has great significance to public health given the significant numbers of people diagnosed with lung cancer and the associated individual and societal costs. Lung cancer impacts elderly patients, creates extensive family and social burden and both psychosocial and financial consequences are substantial. Integration of palliative care into quality lung cancer care can serve as a public health model to maximize both quality of life and health care resources.
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