Opportunities - Are phone invitations to a supportive and palliative care consultation acceptable to patients with advanced lung cancer?

Are phone invitations to a supportive and palliative care consultation acceptable to patients with advanced lung cancer?

University of Calgary

 

Background

People living with advanced (incurable) cancer are not routinely provided with timely access to a therapy that is proven to help them feel better, reduce depression and anxiety, and support their quality of life – supportive and palliative care therapy. Patients, and those close to them, experience high levels of distress when faced with a life-limiting diagnosis, and often don’t know that supportive and palliative care can be received at the same time as cancer treatments as an added layer of support. Cancer clinics are very busy, and cancer doctors often don’t have time or physical space to ask patients about their supportive and palliative care needs, or have conversations with them around the benefits of supportive and palliative care.

To overcome these barriers, we are conducting a new study to ask if patients, recently diagnosed with advanced cancer,  would find an automatic  phone call by a palliative care provider offering a consultation acceptable, and how many would take up the offer of a comprehensive palliative care consultation?

What will the study do? We will work with patients and healthcare providers to design the process and appropriate introduction of these automatic referrals. We will then test the process, starting with people recently diagnosed with advanced (stage IV) lung cancer. We will interview patients about the acceptability of being called directly by a palliative care provider shortly after their advanced cancer diagnosis, and will measure how many patients attend a palliative care consultation.

Why do this? If acceptable, automatic referral will overcome existing barriers to palliative care referral and guarantee EVERY patient is offered early access to palliative care. If we find that direct phone contact is acceptable and leads to more people receiving early palliative care, this will provide a routine, effective way to enhance the lives of all Canadians living with advanced cancers.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

There are two ways to engage in this opportunity:

  1. Patient/caregiver partners:  We are looking for people living with advanced (stage IV) lung cancer and/or their caregivers to partner with us to co-design a process for automatic referral to palliative care. By this we mean helping us to design aspects of the process such as: how people would be identified as appropriate for referral, who would contact them and when, how palliative care should be introduced, etc.

Patient/caregiver partners will become members of the research team and will join team meetings (virtually during COVID restrictions) with the study investigators, research assistants, and doctors and nurses who work in the cancer centre lung cancer clinics.

We may also seek feedback from patients/caregivers on documents/written materials. In this case, feedback could be provided by email and/or by online meeting as preferred.

  1. Research participants: We are looking for people living with advanced (Stage IV) lung cancer to participate in a one-time interview with a research assistant about the acceptability of being called directly by a palliative care provider shortly after their advanced cancer diagnosis.

We estimate interviews may take up to one hour in length, and would be conducted by phone or online (e.g. Zoom).

To be eligible, participants must be 18 years of age or older, be able to speak English, and have a diagnosis of advanced (stage IV) lung cancer. Participants are ineligible if they have already seen a specialist palliative care provider, and/or have a cognitive (brain) impairment that would affect their ability to consent to participate in the study.

Those who choose to participate in the one-time interview may also choose to join us as a patient partner (as per option 1 above) if desired.

 

Time Commitment

  1. Patient/caregiver partners: This is a two-year project (October 2020 to September 2022). Patient/caregiver partners are welcome to partner with us for the full two years or for whatever length of time they are able/interested in contributing. We anticipate team meetings will be 1-2 hours in length, virtual for now, and may take place once a month.
  2. Research participants: We estimate interviews may take up to one hour in length, and would be conducted by phone or online (e.g. Zoom).

 

Reimbursement/Compensation

  1. Patient/caregiver partners: This is strictly a volunteer position.  

As per Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines, patient partners/caregiver will not be compensated for their time but will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses should in-person meetings resume in the future.

  1. Research participants: Research participants in this study will be offered a $20 gift card for their participation in the one-time interview.

 

For more information or to apply please contact

 

Patricia Biondo (Research Manager)           Aynharan Sinnarajah (PI)

Email:  pbiondo@ucalgary.ca                         Email: ayn.sinnarajah@ahs.ca

Phone: 403.210.3953                                     Phone: 403.944.2304