Care Partners: Web-based Support for Caregivers of Veterans Undergoing Chemotherapy

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00983892
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 24, 2009
Results First Posted : March 22, 2016
Last Update Posted : March 22, 2016
Michigan State University
University of Michigan
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development

September 22, 2009
September 24, 2009
February 2, 2016
March 22, 2016
March 22, 2016
October 2009
April 2014   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Summed Symptom Severity [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
Summed severity across 8 symptoms of interest, as measured using the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory. 8 core symptoms rated by the patient on a scale of 0 to 10. These 8 symptoms were chosen based on their prevalence of 50% or greater in the population of interest. Higher scores mean WORSE or GREATER SYMPTOM BURDEN.
patient symptom severity (MDASI) [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00983892 on Archive Site
Not Provided
  • adherence to chemotherapy [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
  • function (SF36) [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
  • utilization [ Time Frame: 3 months ]
Not Provided
Not Provided
Care Partners: Web-based Support for Caregivers of Veterans Undergoing Chemotherapy
Web-based Support for Caregivers of Veterans Undergoing Chemotherapy
Given the growing strain on the Veterans Administration resulting from increasing caseloads of cancer patients, interventions are badly needed that assist patients in managing their illness, improve quality of life and avoid acute episodes that result in urgent care use and increased mortality. Previous studies have found that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can effectively manage their own symptoms when monitored using automated telephone calls. Such technology, however, may challenge the number of Veterans who lack social support and/or independence. The goal was to develop and test a technology that not only monitors patients automatically by telephone, but also gives them self management advice and engages a friend or family member to serve as a CarePartner willing to play a limited role in identifying patient symptoms and psychosocial needs to reinforce self management and provide social support. The investigators found that this technology indeed helped patients better control their symptoms, especially when a caregiver participated in the program along with them.

Cancer is a prevalent problem that causes much suffering among Veterans and their families. Most interventions to improve symptom control require Veterans to engage in activities such as managing medications, altering diets, or accessing outside resources that may be beyond their reach due to limitations in physical and mental functioning. Friends and family inside and outside of the Veteran's household can help, but often lack the skills and resources they need to do so.

"Cancer CarePartners" was designed to address these needs by providing cancer-stricken Veterans and their informal caregivers with the information they need to make effective management decisions, decrease symptom burden, and improve outcomes. Cancer CarePartners is a Web-enabled program that alerts caregivers of patients' symptoms and provides them with a framework for identifying problems, receiving structured advice, formulating a 'task list,' and following up with their patients as they receive chemotherapy. Specifically, Cancer CarePartners includes weekly, automated telephonic symptom assessment (ATSA) with self-management (SM) support to the Veteran paired with Web-based alerts to the caregiver pointing them to a website where s/he can obtain customized advice. A randomized control trial was conducted to test the efficacy of this program in controlling symptoms as well as improving adherence to chemotherapy.


1) To determine if Veterans undergoing chemotherapy who receive Cancer CarePartners report significant improvement in the summed severity of symptoms (the sum of 0-10 severity across 8 core symptoms) compared to Veterans receiving symptom monitoring and self-management advice; secondarily, to determine if they experience better adherence to chemotherapy and utilization. (2) To determine if caregivers participating in the intervention provide significantly more social support to patients than do controls; secondarily, to determine if they experience more caregiver burden and distress than do controls. (3) To determine whether impacts on patients are mediated by mastery. (4) To determine whether impacts on caregivers are mediated by mastery.

Methods Consenting Veterans with solid tumors undergoing chemotherapy at one of three VAMCs (Ann Arbor, Loma Linda and Fargo) who reported at least one core symptom at a moderate level or higher and had a caregiver willing to enroll in the study were randomly assigned to either 10 weeks of Cancer CarePartners or 10 weeks of automated, telephonic symptom assessment (ATSA) with self management support. Arms were balanced for non-small cell lung cancer status and caregiver type. Patients and caregivers were surveyed at intake, 10, and 14 weeks. In addition, the investigators tracked patient participation with ATSA and (in the experimental arm) caregiver use of the Cancer CarePartners Website. The investigators reviewed all medical records for content of care received during the 14 weeks on study.

Not Provided
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Behavioral: Caregiver website
Website receives patient symptom assessment data from IVR and provides caregivers with weekly updates on patient status, allowing caregivers to access tailored symptom management advice and formulate an action plan.
Other Name: Care Partners
  • Experimental: CarePartners+
    Patients receive automated telephonic symptom assessment and symptom management advice; caregivers receive the intervention (Intervention = access to a caregiver Web site that updates them on patient's symptoms and provides tailored problem solving advice).
    Intervention: Behavioral: Caregiver website
  • No Intervention: CarePartners-
    Patients receive automated telephonic symptom assessment and symptom management advice; caregivers receive nothing (i.e. no access to the caregiver website, or 'intervention').
Silveira MJ, Given CW, Cease KB, Sikorskii A, Given B, Northouse LL, Piette JD. Cancer Carepartners: Improving patients' symptom management by engaging informal caregivers. BMC Palliat Care. 2011 Nov 25;10:21. doi: 10.1186/1472-684X-10-21.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
February 2015
April 2014   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients must be 18 years or older, cognitively intact, English-speaking, able to hear, and own a telephone.
  • Patients can have any solid tumor.
  • Patients must be initiating IV cytotoxic chemotherapy and, if recurrent, have experienced a 1 month treatment free interval.
  • Caregivers must be 18 years or older, cognitively intact, English-speaking, and able to hear/speak for interviews.
  • Caregivers must have access to a telephone and computer with high speed internet access.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients will be excluded if they have a hematologic malignancy or are receiving bone marrow transplantation.
  • Patients and caregivers will be excluded if they have an untreated serious mental illness or cognitive impairment, are institutionalized or enrolled in hospice (prior to trial), or plan on not receiving all care from VA
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
IIR 08-309
Not Provided
Plan to Share IPD: No
VA Office of Research and Development
VA Office of Research and Development
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan
Principal Investigator: Maria J. Silveira, MD MA MPH VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
VA Office of Research and Development
February 2016

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP