Efficacy of a telephone outcall program to reduce caregiver burden among caregivers of cancer patients [PROTECT]: a randomised controlled trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

BACKGROUND: Informal caregivers provide extended support to people with cancer but they receive little support from the health care system to assist them in their caring role. The aim of this single-blind, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial was to test the efficacy of a telephone outcall program to reduce caregiver burden and unmet needs, and improve psychological well-being among cancer caregivers, as well as evaluating the potential impact on patient outcomes. METHODS: Cancer patient/caregiver dyads (N = 216) were randomised to a telephone outcall program (n = 108) or attention control group (n = 108). The primary outcome was self-reported caregiver burden. Secondary endpoints included depressive symptoms, unmet needs, self-esteem, self-empowerment, and health literacy. Data were collected at baseline and at both 1 and 6 months post-intervention. An intention to treat analysis was performed. RESULTS: The intervention had no effect on the primary outcome (caregiver burden), but reduced the number of caregiver unmet needs (intervention group baseline, mean = 2.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.91-3.54]; intervention group 1 month post intervention, mean = 0.85, 95%CI [0.42-1.44]; control group baseline, mean = 1.30 95%CI [0.80-1.94], control group 1 month post intervention, mean = 1.02 95%CI [0.52-1.69]; p = 0.023). For caregivers at risk for depression, the intervention had a significant effect on caregivers' confidence in having sufficient information to manage their health (p = 0.040). No effects were found for patients' depressive symptoms, unmet needs, self-empowerment, and other health literacy domains. CONCLUSIONS: While caregiver burden was not reduced, the outcall program was effective in reducing unmet needs in caregivers. Provision of cancer information and support via a telephone service may represent a feasible approach to reducing unmet needs among cancer caregiver populations. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12613000731796 ; prospectively registered on 02/07/2013.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Heckel, L; Fennell, KM; Reynolds, J; Boltong, A; Botti, M; Osborne, RH; Mihalopoulos, C; Chirgwin, J; Williams, M; Gaskin, CJ; Ashley, DM; Livingston, PM

Published Date

  • January 8, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 59 -

PubMed ID

  • 29310613

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5759190

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2407

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12885-017-3961-6


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England