Symptom management is essential in home caregiving. However, many informal caregivers are not confident of their ability to assist their their loved ones with their cancer symptoms at home. A low level of confidence or self-efficacy may negatively affect a caregiver's psychological well-being which is already vulnerable as a consequence of caregiving. Because of the reciprocal nature in a caregiver-patient dyad, caregiver decline is likely associated with patient decline. Improving caregivers'self-efficacy to manage their loved ones'cancer-related symptoms may mitigate their psychological decline arid may positively affect patients'well-being by alleviating their symptom distress. Additionally, training in self-management of stress may promote coping among caregivers as many data show that caregiver stress is overwhelming. This study will examine the effects of an Enhanced Caregiver Training protocol delivered to informal caregivers of cancer patients before hospital discharge. The primary aim is to test the effects of the training on caregivers'self-efficacy in cancer symptom management and self-efficacy in self-management of stress. The study will also look at the effects of this training on caregiver outcomes (depression, anxiety, quality of life, caregiver stress) and patient outcomes (symptom distress and intensity, depression, anxiety, quality of life). The study will use a treatment and attention-control group. Subjects in the treatment group will receive an individualized experiential caregiver training in strategies for managing patient's symptoms and in the use of pleasant imagery and muscle relaxation to manage stress, whereas subjects in the attention-control group will receive an informational session about cancer and resources for caregiving. Data will be collected before and after the training, and at 2 and 4 weeks after hospital discharge. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis including mixed models will be used for data analysis This study could have important implications for the nursing community on how to effectively prepare informal cancer caregivers for home caregiving prior to hospital discharge. The long term goal is to refine and expand the training so that it can be used to teach and support informal caregivers of patients suffering from other chronic illnesses, and to determine the cost-effectiveness of this training

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNR1-REV-Y)
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Duke University
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Hendrix, Cristina C; Bailey Jr, Donald E; Steinhauser, Karen E et al. (2016) Effects of enhanced caregiver training program on cancer caregiver's self-efficacy, preparedness, and psychological well-being. Support Care Cancer 24:327-36
Bailey Jr, Donald E; Steinhauser, Karen; Hendrix, Cristina et al. (2011) Pairing Self-Management with Palliative Care: Intervening in Life-Limiting Illness. J Nurs Healthc Chronic Illn 3:1-3