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Cancer Nurs. 2009 May-Jun;32(3):193-202. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31819b5abe.

Establishing treatment fidelity in a coping and communication support telephone intervention for aging patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers.

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Department of Nursing, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Dr, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA.


A randomized controlled trial of a nurse-delivered coping and communication support (CCS) intervention tailored to the preferences of middle-aged and older patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers is tested for its value in improving outcomes for quality cancer care. An intervention study must be reliably delivered to estimate the accuracy of findings or make valid conclusions about the outcomes of research. The purpose of this article was to describe methodology for ensuring treatment fidelity in this patient-centered CCS intervention. Fidelity is maximized by ensuring that the CCS intervention is congruent with relevant theory, standardizing training and interventionist competence, and monitoring intervention delivery and documentation. We address unique challenges arising from using individualized interventions that preserve autonomy of the individual and are responsive to shifts in patients' needs and preferences over time. The challenge of nursing research on patient preference and coping communication requires both rigorous measurement of interventionist adherence to the intervention protocol and flexibility to allow for changing needs of patients and family caregivers.

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