Contact: H. Chung So
DUARTE, Calif. — City of Hope has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the American Cancer Society to study, and ultimately help, the family caregivers of cancer patients in poor and underserved populations. The research project funded by this grant will assess an intervention plan for caregivers, with the aim of improving their quality of life and enhancing their caregiving skills.
“We are grateful for the American Cancer Society’s support in this overlooked issue,” said Betty Ferrell
, Ph.D., R.N., professor in the Division of Nursing Research and Education and the principal investigator of this study. “Family caregivers are instrumental to the well-being and outcome of cancer patients, but they have only received minimal attention in health care. Efforts to improve cancer care must go beyond managing the patient’s disease and symptoms and include effective family support as well.”
In the five-year study, 200 family caregivers of City of Hope patients from poor and underserved populations will be randomized into two groups. One group will receive regular caregiver intervention in the form of at-home teaching sessions and telephone support sessions. A second group, known as the control group, will not receive any intervention until after the study; at that point, participants will receive a condensed form of intervention. Both groups will be evaluated for various outcome measures — including burden, preparedness and quality of life — at the beginning the study and at one, three and six months afterward.
“By connecting caregivers to appropriate resources in a timely manner, we can boost their caregiving skills and preparedness, reduce their burden and distress and improve their quality of life,” Ferrell said. “We hope that this trial’s findings will support this comprehensive, interdisciplinary model of care and make it a standard for cancer centers nationwide.”
The project is slated to start in July, with subject accruals beginning in October. The American Cancer Society also awarded Ferrell with the Trish Greene Quality of Life Award
in 2010. The award, “honoring investigators in the field of quality of life research,” recognized Ferrell’s longstanding contributions to improve palliative and end-of-life care for cancer patients and caregivers.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Antelope Valley and South Pasadena. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report
. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org