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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005 Aug;30(2):112-22.

A randomized, controlled trial of a patient/caregiver symptom control intervention: effects on depressive symptomatology of caregivers of cancer patients.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


In this study, we investigated whether a clinical nursing intervention focusing on teaching family caregivers and their cancer patients skills to better manage the patients' symptoms would reduce caregiver depressive symptomatology. Two hundred thirty-seven patient/caregiver dyads were recruited for the study. These dyads were randomized into either the 10-contact, 20-week experimental intervention group (n=118), which focused on assisting the patient and caregiver in managing patient symptoms and reducing emotional distress, or to a conventional care control group (n=119). A longitudinal random effects regression analysis did not indicate that the clinical nursing intervention was effective in decreasing caregiver depression over the 20-week course of the study. The relationship of the intervention to caregiver depressive symptomatology seems to be a complex one. We recommend further research to explore whether a lengthened intervention and/or delayed follow-up might reveal delayed positive effects of such interventions.

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