Outcomes of an electronic social network intervention with neuro-oncology patient family caregivers
Informal family caregivers (FCG) are an integral and crucial human component in the cancer care continuum. However, research and interventions to help alleviate documented anxiety and burden on this group is lacking. To address the absence of effective interventions, we developed the electronic Support Network Assessment Program (eSNAP) which aims to automate the capture and visualization of social support, an important target for overall FCG support. This study seeks to describe the preliminary efficacy and outcomes of the eSNAP intervention.
Forty FCGs were enrolled into a longitudinal, two-group randomized design to compare the eSNAP intervention in caregivers of patients with primary brain tumors against controls who did not receive the intervention. Participants were followed for six weeks with questionnaires to assess demographics, caregiver burden, anxiety, depression, and social support. Questionnaires given at baseline (T1) and then 3-weeks (T2), and 6-weeks (T3) post baseline questionnaire.
FCGs reported high caregiver burden and distress at baseline, with burden remaining stable over the course of the study. The intervention group was significantly less depressed, but anxiety remained stable across groups.
With the lessons learned and feedback obtained from FCGs, this study is the first step to developing an effective social support intervention to support FCGs and healthcare providers in improving cancer care.
KeywordsSocial network Family caregivers Social support Intervention
Research reported in this publication was supported by the American Cancer Society under Award Number ACS MRSG 13-234-01-PCSM (PI Reblin), the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R03CA201684-01 (PI Reblin) and K07CA196985 (PI Wu). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding institutions. The authors would like to thank the participants who made this research possible.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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