Title

Reducing the psychological distress of family caregivers of home based palliative care patients: Longer term effects from a randomised controlled trial

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

John Wiley and Sons Ltd

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

RAS ID

21526

Funders

NHMRC, National Health and Medical Research Council

Comments

Originally published as: Hudson, P., Trauer, T., Kelly, B., O'Connor, M., Thomas, K., Zordan, R., Summers, M. (2015). Reducing the psychological distress of family caregivers of home based palliative care patients: Longer term effects from a randomised controlled trial in Psycho-Oncology, 24(1), 19-24. Available here.

Abstract

Background: Palliative care incorporates comprehensive support of family caregivers because many of them experience burden and distress. However, evidence-based support initiatives are few. Purpose: We evaluated a one-to-one psychoeducational intervention aimed at mitigating the distress of caregivers of patients with advanced cancer receiving home-based palliative care. We hypothesised that caregivers would report decreased distress as assessed by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Method: A randomised controlled trial comparing two versions of the delivery of the intervention (one face-to-face home visit plus telephone calls versus two visits) plus standard care to a control group (standard care only) across four sites in Australia. Results: Recruitment to the one visit condition was 57, the two visit condition 93, and the control 148. We previously reported non-signi fi cant changes in distress between times 1 (baseline) and 2 (1-week post-intervention) but signifi cant gains in competence and preparedness. We report here changes in distress between times 1 and 3 (8-week post-death). There was significantly less worsening in distress between times 1 and 3 in the one visit intervention group than in the control group; however, no significant difference was found between the two visit intervention and the control group. Conclusions: These results are consistent with the aim of the intervention, and they support existing evidence demonstrating that relatively short psychoeducational interventions can help family caregivers who are supporting a dying relative. The sustained benefit during the bereavement period may also have positive resource implications, which should be the subject of future inquiry.

DOI

10.1002/pon.3610