A systematic review of cancer caregiver interventions: Appraising the potential for implementation of evidence into practice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Psycho-Oncology, 2019, 28 (4), pp. 687 - 701
Issue Date:
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© 2019 The Authors. Psycho-Oncology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Objective: nformal caregivers provide substantial support for people living with cancer. Previous systematic reviews report on the efficacy of cancer caregiver interventions but not their potential to be implemented. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the potential for cancer caregiver interventions to be implemented into practice. Methods: We searched three electronic databases to identify cancer caregiver interventions on 5 January 2018. We operationalised six implementation outcomes (acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, and costs) into a tool to guide data extraction. Results: The search yielded 33 papers (27 papers from electronic databases and six papers from other sources) reporting on 26 studies that met review criteria. Fewer than half the studies (46%) contained evidence about the acceptability of interventions from caregivers' perspectives; only two studies (8%) included interventions developed with input from caregivers. Two studies (8%) addressed potential adoption of interventions, and no studies discussed intentions, agreement, or action to implement interventions into practice. All studies reported on intervention appropriateness by providing a rationale for the interventions. For feasibility, on average less than one-third of caregivers who were eligible to be involved consented to participate. On fidelity, whether interventions were conducted as intended was reported in 62% of studies. Cost data were reported in terms of intervention delivery, requiring a median time commitment of staff of 180 minutes to be delivered. Conclusions: Caregiver intervention studies lack components of study design and reporting that could bridge the gap between research and practice. There is enormous potential for improvements in cancer caregiver intervention study design to plan for future implementation.
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