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FOCUS Program: Treating Patients With Cancer and Family Caregivers as a Unit of Care

Hui Ling Chen
Tsui-Sui Annie Kao
Kristina M. Reuille
Laurel Northouse
CJON 2021, 25(3), E17-E25 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.E17-E25

Background: Studies indicate that patients’ and caregivers’ responses to illness are interdependent; each person affects the other. Existing evidence reinforces the need to recognize family caregivers as equal recipients of care and support.

Objectives: This evidence-based pilot study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the nurse-guided, psychoeducational, family-based FOCUS program intervention at a local oncology outpatient clinic.

Methods: 30 patient–caregiver dyads were recruited from a local oncology clinic. Intervention delivery occurred using home visits and telephone calls. Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess participants’ self-efficacy, quality of life (QOL), and coping pre- and postintervention, and intervention satisfaction postintervention. Three tailored psychosocial education sessions were held during a 6- to 9-week period.

Findings: Significant changes in outcomes were found, including increased self-efficacy in both patients and caregivers, higher QOL in caregivers, and decreased use of substances for coping in patients. There was a trend for patients’ emotional well-being to improve over time; other aspects of QOL showed little change. There were no significant changes in caregivers’ coping.

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