The Melbourne Family Support Program: evidence-based strategies that prepare family caregivers for supporting palliative care patients.
AuthorHudson, P; Aranda, S
Source TitleBMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsHudson, P. & Aranda, S. (2014). The Melbourne Family Support Program: evidence-based strategies that prepare family caregivers for supporting palliative care patients.. BMJ Support Palliat Care, 4 (3), pp.231-237. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000500.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145448
BACKGROUND: A key component of palliative care is support for family caregivers. Although some family caregivers identify positive aspects, the impact is typically burdensome; they are prone to physical and psychological morbidity, financial disadvantage and social isolation. Outcomes of systematic reviews have highlighted the importance of investment in family caregiver intervention research. PURPOSE: To provide an overview of the development, evaluation and outcomes arising from of a programme of research (The Melbourne Family Support Program (FSP)), which focused on reducing the psychosocial burden of family caregivers. METHODS: Developmental work involved a systematic literature review; focus groups with family caregivers and health professionals; and identification of a conceptual framework. Following a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT), a programme of psychoeducational intervention studies was developed and tested; one via RCT, the others via prepost test. RESULTS: Four psychoeducational interventions, incorporating one-to-one and group format delivery, conducted in both the home and inpatient hospital/hospice were evaluated. Statistically significant outcomes included improvements in family caregivers' preparedness, competence, positive emotions, more favourable levels of psychological wellbeing and a reduction in unmet needs. Internationally endorsed guidelines for the psychosocial support of family caregivers were produced and several resources were constructed. Fifteen publications in international peer-reviewed journals have arisen from this programme. CONCLUSIONS: The interventions and resources from the Melbourne FSP provide several evidenced-based and clinically relevant approaches that focus on reducing the psychosocial burden of the caregiving role. In several instances, however, more rigorous methodological testing is advocated.
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