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Effects of Nurse-Led Telephone-Based Supportive Interventions for Patients With Cancer: A Meta-Analysis

Soon-Rim Suh
Myung Kyung Lee
ONF 2017, 44(4), E168-E184 DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.E168-E184

Problem Identification: To evaluate the effects of nurse-led telephone-based supportive interventions (NTSIs) for patients with cancer.


Literature Search: Electronic databases, including EMBASE®, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, 
Cochrane Library CENTRAL, ProQuest Medical Library, and CINAHL®, were searched through February 2016.


Data Evaluation: 239 studies were identified; 16 were suitable for meta-analysis. Cochrane’s risk of bias tool and the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software were used.


Synthesis: The authors performed a meta-analysis of 16 trials that met eligibility criteria. Thirteen randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) and three non-RCTs examined a total of 2,912 patients with cancer. Patients who received NTSIs were compared with those who received attentional control or usual care (no intervention).


Conclusions: Telephone interventions delivered by a nurse in an oncology care setting reduced cancer symptoms with a moderate effect size (ES) (–0.33) and emotional distress with a small ES (–0.12), and improved self-care with a large ES (0.64) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) with a small ES (0.3). Subgroup analyses indicated that the significant effects of NTSIs on cancer symptoms, emotional distress, and HRQOL were larger for studies that combined an application of a theoretical framework, had a control group given usual care, and used an RTC design.


Implications for Research: The findings suggest that an additional tiered evaluation that has a theoretical underpinning and high-quality methodology is required to confirm the efficacy of NTSI for adoption of specific care models.

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