Communicating advanced cancer patients' symptoms via the Internet: A pooled analysis of two randomized trials examining caregiver preparedness, physical burden, and negative mood

Ming Yuan Chih, Lori L. Dubenske, Robert P. Hawkins, Roger L. Brown, Susan K. Dinauer, James F. Cleary, David H. Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Using available communication technologies, clinicians may offer timely support to family caregivers in managing symptoms in patients with advanced cancer at home. Aim: To assess the effects of an online symptom reporting system on caregiver preparedness, physical burden, and negative mood. Design: A pooled analysis of two randomized trials (NCT00214162 and NCT00365963) was conducted to compare caregiver outcomes at 6 and 12 months after intervention between two randomized, unblinded groups using General Linear Mixed Modeling. Caregivers in one group (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System-Only) were given access to an interactive cancer communication system, the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System. Those in the other group (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System + Clinician Report) received access to Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System plus an online symptom reporting system called the Clinician Report. Clinicians of patients in the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System + Clinician Report group received e-mail alerts notifying them when a symptom distress was reported over a predetermined threshold. Setting/participants: Dyads (η = 235) of advanced-stage lung, breast, and prostate cancer patients and their adult caregivers were recruited at five outpatient oncology clinics in the United States. Results: Caregivers in the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System + Clinician Report group reported less negative mood than those in the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System-Only group at both 6 months (ρ = 0.009) and 12 months (ρ = 0.004). Groups were not significantly different on caregiver preparedness or physical burden at either time point. Conclusions: This study provides new evidence that by using an online symptom reporting system, caregivers may experience less emotional distress due to the Clinician Reports timely communication of caregiving needs in symptom management to clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-543
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible through grant funding from the National Cancer Institute (1 P50 CA095817-01A1) and National Institute of Nursing Research (RO1 NR008260-01).

Keywords

  • Caregivers
  • cancer
  • communication barriers
  • eHealth
  • palliative care
  • signs and symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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