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

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


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.


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.


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.


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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