Evaluation of a brief pilot psychoeducational support group intervention for family caregivers of cancer patients: a quasi-experimental mixed-methods study.

Research paper by Rathi R Mahendran, Haikel A HA Lim, Joyce Y S JY Tan, Hui Ying HY Ng, Joanne J Chua, Siew Eng SE Lim, Ee Heok EH Kua, Konstadina K Griva

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes


Family caregivers of cancer patients often experience an impaired quality of life (QOL) and emotional distress as a result of their caregiving duties, which may potentially influence the quality of care of their care recipients. The COPE (Caregivers of cancer Outpatients' Psycho-Education support group therapy) intervention was developed as a response to the lack of work done among family caregivers of ambulatory cancer patients in Asia. This group intervention comprised four weekly sessions simultaneously targeting psychoeducation, skills training, and supportive therapy. The present study sought to evaluate the pilot COPE intervention using both quantitative and qualitative measures. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to measure both depression and anxiety, while the Caregiver QOL - Cancer (CQOLC) measured caregiver QOL. These instruments were measured at baseline pre-intervention, and immediately post-intervention. A waitlist control group design was adopted. A subset of caregivers from the intervention group were invited for a semi-structured interview post-intervention.Quantitative analyses suggest that while QOL remained stable in control group participants, intervention group participants experienced QOL improvements - both in overall QOL and in the specific domain of burden. There were no significant differences in the trajectories of depression and anxiety in both groups. Qualitative analyses suggest that this might have been a result of the intervention not only equipping participants with the relevant coping skills, but also providing a platform for emotional expression and situational reappraisal.The COPE intervention has shown some efficacy in helping family caregivers of cancer patients, but more work is required before this can be implemented.Current Controlled Trials NCT02120183 . Registered 17 April 2014. Retrospectively registered.