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Cancer. 2015 Oct 15;121(20):3737-45. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29567. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Effectiveness of an interdisciplinary palliative care intervention for family caregivers in lung cancer.

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Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope, Duarte, California.
Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope, Duarte, California.
Supportive Care Medicine, City of Hope, Duarte, California.
Vital Research, LLC, Los Angeles, California.



Family caregivers (FCGs) experience significant deteriorations in quality of life while caring for patients with lung cancer. In this study, the authors tested the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary palliative care intervention for FCGs of patients diagnosed with stage I through IV nonsmall cell lung cancer.


FCGs who were identified by patients as their primary caregivers were enrolled in a prospective, quasi-experimental study in which the usual care group was accrued first followed by the intervention group. FCGs in the intervention group were presented at interdisciplinary care meetings, and they also received 4 educational sessions organized in the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual domains. The sessions included self-care plans to support the FCG's own needs. Caregiver burden, caregiving skills preparedness, psychological distress, and FCG quality of life were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks using validated measures.


In total, 366 FCGs were included in the primary analysis. FCGs who received the interdisciplinary palliative care intervention had significantly better scores for social well being (5.84 vs 6.86; P < .001) and had lower psychological distress scores (4.61 vs 4.20; P = .010) at 12 weeks compared with FCGs in the usual care group. FCGs in the intervention group also had significantly less caregiver burden compared with FCGs in the usual care group (P = .008).


An interdisciplinary approach to palliative care in lung cancer resulted in statistically significant improvements in FCG's social well being and psychological distress and in less caregiver burden.


family caregiver; lung cancer; palliative care; quality of life; symptoms

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