Dr. Margaret Longacre, assistant professor of Public Health, has been awarded an American Cancer Society grant for "The Systemic Integration of Caregivers in Cancer Palliative Care" to conduct research for the development and testing of a standardization process to involve caregivers in patient care.
The grant, which is for the amount of $144,000, will be implemented in collaboration with Drs. Marcin Chwistek and Carolyn Fang at Fox Chase Cancer Center through two phases. The first phase will gain feedback of the proposed system through an evaluation from five patients, their caregivers, and clinicians. Phase two will assess the feasibility and use of this system among 40 patients and caregivers, as well as gauging the benefits of it from the clinicians.
“Family members and friends who act as caregivers are a vital part of the care process,” said Dr. Longacre. “With cancer, caregivers are very active in the process of patient care, but are not consistently engaged. Additionally, many experience high levels of stress due to a need for information and skill training. Throughout the process though, we must also consider patient preferences when involving caregivers. Ultimately, if we can help demonstrate the ability to systematically involve and engage caregivers, our hope is that we might eventually see improved caregiver and patient outcomes.”
Dr. Longacre noted that through this grant, researchers will be able to develop a model of integrated care that incorporates caregivers. In the United States, she said, there is no standardized training and incorporation of caregivers into the process, and that it often differs between institutions or clinicians with many system barriers. Through this grant, she hopes caregivers can begin to be included in the process in a systematic way.
Dr. Longacre was supported by a Pilot and Exploratory Projects in Palliative Care of Cancer Patients and Their Families, PEP-19-041-01 - PCMS, from the American Cancer Society.