Effects of a problem-solving intervention (COPE) on quality of life for patients with advanced cancer on clinical trials and their caregivers: Simultaneous Care Educational Intervention (SCEI): Linking palliation and clinical trials

Frederick J Meyers, Michael Carducci, Matthew J. Loscalzo, John Linder, Tamara Greasby, Laurel A Beckett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Scopus citations


Context: Patients on investigational clinical trials and their caregivers experience poor quality of life (QOL), which declines as the disease progresses. Objective: To examine the effect of a standardized cognitive-behavioral problem-solving educational intervention on the QOL of patients enrolled on investigational clinical trials and their caregivers. Design: Prospective, multi-institution, randomized trial. QOL was measured repeatedly over 6 months. Participants: Patients were simultaneously enrolled onto phase 1, 2, or 3 Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved cancer clinical trials. Intervention: Intervention arm dyads participated in three conjoint educational sessions during the first month, learning the COPE problem solving model. Nonintervention arm dyads received usual care. Outcome Measures: Global QOL was measured by the City of Hope Quality of Life Instruments for Patients or Caregivers; problem solving skills were measured by the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised. Results: The results are reported using the CONSORT statement. The analytic data set included 476 dyads including 1596 patient data points and 1576 care giver data points. Patient QOL showed no significant difference in the rate of change between the intervention and usual care arms (p = 0.70). Caregiver QOL scores in the intervention arm declined, but at less than half the rate in the control arm (p = 0.02). Conclusions: The COPE intervention enabled the average caregiver to come much closer to stable QOL over the 6-month follow-up. Future studies should enroll subjects much earlier in the cancer illness trajectory, a common patient/caregiver theme. The maximum effect was seen in caregivers who completed the 6-month follow-up, suggesting that the impact may increase over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Nursing(all)

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