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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005 Oct;30(4):329-41.

A psycho-educational intervention for family caregivers of patients receiving palliative care: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Center for Palliative Care, School of Nursing, University of Melbourne, Australia.


This study describes an evaluation of a psycho-educational intervention for family caregivers of patients dying of cancer at home. In a randomized controlled trial, participants (n = 106) received standard home-based palliative care services (n = 52) or these services plus the new intervention (n = 54). Data were collected at three time points: upon commencement of home-based palliative care (Time 1), five weeks later (Time 2), and then eight weeks following patient death (Time 3). No intervention effects were identified with respect to preparedness to care, self-efficacy, competence, and anxiety. However, participants who received the intervention reported a significantly more positive caregiver experience than those who received standard care at both Times 2 and 3. The findings indicate that it is possible to increase caregiver rewards despite being immersed in challenging circumstances that often yield considerable negative psychosocial sequelae. Furthermore, it is feasible for health professionals to discuss emotive topics, such as impending death, with caregivers without adverse effects.

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