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Queen’s University Belfast project to support cancer patients and their caregivers

Queen’s University Belfast is part of a large transdisciplinary project to provide better support to people with advanced cancer and their family caregivers.

The researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast including Professor Kevin Brazil (PI), Professor Joanne Reid, Dr Gillian Prue and Dr David Scott will work alongside experts from eight institutions in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK to evaluate which psychosocial and educational interventions are most effective in supporting both cancer patients and their caregivers.

The project entitled, Dyadic Psychosocial and Educational Interventions for People with Advanced Cancer and their Informal Caregivers (DIAdIC), has received €4m in funding from the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. 

Professor Kevin Brazil, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University explained: “A diagnosis of advanced cancer has ramifications for the person with the disease as well as for the family caregiver. Good psychosocial and educational support for both can substantially reduce these and improve the quality of life of both.

“A major strength and uniqueness of the DIAdIC project is that it considers the patient-caregiver dyad as a unit and that it supports them using tailored interventions that are complementary to the existing professional care.”

The DIAdIC project will develop and evaluate two different methods of administering the interventions: a face-to-face method provided in the patient-caregiver dyad’s home by a specially trained professional and an eHealth self-administered tool. Both are tailored to the needs of both patients and caregivers. The interventions will address five core areas:

- supporting family involvement in care;

- addressing issues of hopelessness, fears and concerns about the disease;

- increasing coping effectiveness to deal with stress related to the disease and caregiving;

- reducing uncertainty about the disease and treatments and;

- teaching self-care strategies for symptom management.

Following the project evaluation, the interventions will be available for all European countries to provide good psychosocial and educational support to patients and their family carers. 

Professor Joachim Cohen, Professor of the End-of-Life Care at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Project Coordinator on the research said: “With almost 4 million people in the EU newly diagnosed with cancer every year, this project could have a huge impact in improving the quality of life not only on those diagnosed with cancer, but also their family and caregivers.”




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