Citation Forbat L, Robinson R, Bilton-Simek R, Francois K, Lewis M & Haraldsdottir E (2018) Distance education methods are useful for delivering education to palliative caregivers: A single-arm trial of an education package (PalliativE Caregivers Education Package). Palliative Medicine, 32 (2), pp. 581-588. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216317712849
Face-to-face/group education for palliative caregivers is successful, but relies on caregivers travelling, being absent from the patient, and rigid timings. This presents inequities for those in rural locations.
To design and test an innovative distance-learning educational package (PrECEPt: PalliativE Caregivers Education Package).
Single-arm mixed-method feasibility proof-of-concept trial (ACTRN12616000601437). The primary outcome was carer self-efficacy, with secondary outcomes focused on caregiver preparedness and carer tasks/needs. Analysis focused on three outcome measures (taken at baseline and 6 weeks) and feasibility/acceptability qualitative data.
Setting and participants:
A single specialist palliative care service. Eligible informal caregivers were those of patients registered with the outpatient or community service, where the patient had a prognosis of ⩾12 weeks, supporting someone with nutrition/hydration and/or pain management needs, proficient in English and no major mental health diagnosis.
Two modules were developed and tested (nutrition/hydration and pain management) with 18 caregivers. The materials did not have a statistically significant impact on carer self-efficacy. However, statistically significant improvements were observed on the two subsidiary measures of (1) caregiving tasks, consequences and needs (p = 0.03, confidence interval: 0.72, 9.4) and (2) caregiver preparedness (p = 0.001, confidence interval: −1.22, −0.46). The study determined that distance learning is acceptable and feasible for both caregivers and healthcare professionals.
Distance education improves caregiver preparedness and is a feasible and acceptable approach. A two-arm trial would determine whether the materials benefitted caregivers and patients compared to a control group not receiving the materials. Additional modules could be fruitfully developed and offered.