Pilot Study of a Communication Coaching Telephone Intervention for Lung Cancer Caregivers

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Abstract

Background:

Family caregivers are a key communication source for nurses, and there is a need to provide communication skill building for caregivers.

Objective:

A pilot study was conducted to determine feasibility and use of a communication coaching telephone intervention aimed at improving caregiver confidence in communication and reducing psychological distress.

Methods:

A printed communication guide for caregivers and a 1-time communication coaching call delivered by a research nurse were provided to caregivers. Recruitment and attrition, implementation and content of coaching calls, caregiver outcomes, and satisfaction with intervention were analyzed.

Results:

Twenty caregivers were recruited across 4 cohorts—diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end of life—with recruitment greater than 70%. Caregiver calls averaged 37 minutes, and most caregivers reported communication challenges with family members. Caregiver action plans revealed a need to develop communication skills to ask for help and share information. Caregivers reported satisfaction with the print guide, and 90% of caregivers followed through with their action plan, with 80% reporting that the action plan worked. Caregiver confidence in communication with healthcare providers was improved, except for caregivers of cancer survivors.

Conclusions:

Recruitment and attrition rates demonstrate feasibility of the intervention. Caregivers reported that the communication coaching telephone intervention was considered valuable and they were able to implement a communication action plan with others.

Implications for Practice:

Lessons were learned about intervention content, namely, that nurses can help caregivers learn communication strategies for asking for help, sharing cancer information, and initiating self-care.

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