Evaluation of a Psychoeducational intervention for patients with Advanced Cancer who have Cachexia and their lay Carers (EPACaCC): study protocol

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Aim: To evaluate a psychoeducational intervention for patients with advanced cancer who have cachexia and their lay carers.

Background: Cachexia is a frequent and devastating syndrome of advanced cancer. It has an impact on patients biologically, psychologically and socially and has profound impact on their lay carers. Prior research has predominately focused on the biological components of cachexia and associated potential treatment modalities. At present, there is no standardized supportive healthcare intervention in current practice that targets the psychosocial impact of this syndrome.

Design: A pragmatic multicentre randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Patient/carer dyads (n = 200) will be recruited into a randomized controlled trial of a DVD intervention for cachexia management. The sample will be recruited from two urban hospices in the UK. The primary outcome measure will be the General Health Questionnaire-12. Additional questionnaires focusing on distress, readiness to give care and coping skills will be used as secondary outcome measures. In addition, lay carers in the intervention group will be asked to participate in semi-structured interviews following the death of their loved one. Both Office for Research Ethics Committee approval and local governance approval at both hospices have been obtained as of February 2013.

Discussion: This is the first time that a psychoeducational DVD has been tested in a randomized controlled trial in this population. Dissemination of findings will make a significant contribution to international knowledge and understanding in this area. Findings will inform education, practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174–1183
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number5
Early online date10 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • cachexia;cancer;carers;end-of-life care;hospice;nursing DVD;psychoeducational;relatives;weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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