Coping Skills in Patients with Cancer and Caregivers

An Adaptive Dyadic Self-directed Coping and Self-management Skills Training Intervention for Caregivers of Individuals With Cancer

High-quality cancer care in Canada relies on family caregivers. Since cancer treatment is provided more and more in outpatient clinics, family caregivers now provide most of the support and care patients need when they return home. The problem is that caregivers often do not feel they have the knowledge and skills to fulfill this role, especially as caregivers often confront tasks once performed by health care professionals. As a result, caregivers experience high levels of burden and need more help to handle the demands of their role. Programs that enhance caregivers' knowledge and prepare them for their role can have positive effects on their well-being. However, these programs are not available in routine cancer care. They just take too much time and personnel and are too expensive. This limited access to resources reduces caregivers' ability to cope and affects their quality of life. If the ultimate goal is to integrate these programs in cancer care, cost-effective service delivery models are needed. One approach that rises to this challenge and is effective is the self-directed format. A self-directed format requires less support from clinicians and is available to individuals when it is most convenient to them. The research team recently developed and evaluated the first self-directed coping skills training intervention for cancer caregivers called Coping-Together. Although self-directed interventions offer the scalability needed for public health interventions, up to 60% of caregivers do not improve after receiving this type of intervention. These caregivers require more support. This innovative trial design will help determine whether changing the type and level of support provided can increase the number of caregivers who improve after receiving Coping-Together. This type of innovative trial design is more and more popular, but has never been used to enhance the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of caregiver interventions.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - Coping Together Booklets and Workbook

Dyads in this group will complete Coping-Together, a 6-week, booklet-based, self-directed coping and self-management skills training intervention. This intervention addresses key psychosocial challenges by offering evidence-based practical skills to: (a) manage symptoms, (b) cope with anxiety, (c) collaborate with the health care team, (d) engage in shared decision-making, (e) communicate with partner and family, and/or (f) obtain the community resources needed. A relaxation CD is also included, more on

Behavioral - Cancer Chat online support

Dyads will receive Coping-Together and participate in text-based, synchronous online groups led by a social worker (SW) and hosted by Cancer Chat Canada. This intervention capitalizes on an existing, acceptable, and feasible service to facilitate its integration into current infrastructure (if efficacious in larger SMART). This form of guidance was selected, as caregivers identify a need to connect with others through group interventions. In the first moderated group (duration = 60-90 minutes), more on

Behavioral - Motivational Interviewing

Six, 45-60 minute weekly telephone-based sessions with a trained Motivational Interviewing Specialist to progress toward goals. Here, dyads are given one-on-one guidance from a HCP Motivational Interviewing Specialist to practice the skills they need. Calls will focus on problem-solving principles and core components of self-management (70), including: (a) identifying dyads' concerns, (b) reviewing management efforts, (c) identifying goals, (d) identifying skills needed to achieve goals, and (e) more on

An Adaptive Dyadic Self-directed Coping and Self-management Skills Training Intervention for Caregivers of Individuals With Cancer: A Pilot Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART) Design