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Building Family Caregiver Skills Using a Simulation-Based Intervention: A Randomized Pilot Trial

Susan R. Mazanec
Kate Sandstrom
Darlene Coletta
Jennifer Dorth
Chad Zender
Celeste M. Alfes
Barbara J. Daly
ONF 2019, 46(4), 419-427 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.419-427

Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, safety, and fidelity of a psychoeducational intervention to improve family caregiver technical and communication skills using structured simulations.

Sample & Setting: 18 family caregivers of adult patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Methods & Variables: A two-group, randomized pilot trial design was used. The intervention consisted of four one-on-one sessions between the caregiver and nurse interventionist during the patient’s first, second, fourth, and sixth week of radiation treatment. Participants completed measures of self-efficacy for caregiving, anxiety, depression, and health-related quality of life at baseline, during the fifth week of radiation therapy, and four weeks after radiation therapy.

Results: 4 of the 9 caregiver participants completed the intervention. Improvements in scores for the intervention group were noted for self-efficacy, global mental health, anxiety, and depression.

Implications for Nursing: Refinement of the intervention is needed to improve feasibility. Although a caregiver intervention that incorporates simulation for skills training is acceptable and safe, flexibility in protocol is needed.

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