BACKGROUND: Family caregivers in cancer and palliative care often face heavy responsibilities and feel insufficiently prepared for the situation as caregivers. This study evaluates short-term and long-term effects of a psycho-educational group intervention aiming to increase preparedness for family caregiving in specialized palliative home care.
METHODS: The study design was a randomized control trial where family caregivers were allocated either to an intervention or control group. The intervention was delivered as a program including three sessions by health professionals (physician, nurse, and social worker/priest). Family caregivers from 10 specialized palliative home care settings were included. Questionnaires with validated instruments at baseline, upon completion, and 2 months following the intervention were used to measure effects of the intervention. The primary outcome was preparedness for caregiving in family caregivers.
RESULTS: In total, 21 intervention programs were delivered, and 119 family caregivers completed all three measurements. The intervention group had significantly increased their preparedness for caregiving in both the short-term and long-term follow-up compared with the control group. The intervention group also reported significantly increased competence for caregiving in short-term but not long. No effects of the intervention were found on rewards for caregiving, caregiver burden, health, anxiety, or depression.
CONCLUSIONS: The psycho-educational intervention has the potential to be used by health professionals to improve preparedness for caregiving among family caregivers in palliative care both in short and long terms. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
2016. Vol. 25, no 7, 795-802 p.