Budin, W.C., Hoskins, C.N., Haber, J., Sherman, D.W., Maislin, G., Cater, J.R., . . . Shukla, S. (2008). Breast cancer: Education, counseling, and adjustment among patients and partners: A randomized clinical trial. Nursing Research, 57(3), 199–213.doi: /10.1097/01.NNR.0000319496.67369.37
To determine the effects of care phase-specific psychoeducation and telephone counseling on emotional, physical, and social adjustment of patients and partners, compared to standard treatment of disease management
Patients and partners were randomly assigned to one of four groups in dyads.
The partner involved was the person the patient identified as most intimately involved in the breast cancer experience. Care phases were defined as Time 0 (T0) (upon study entry), T1 (diagnostic—when the diagnosis of breast cancer was determined), T2 (postsurgical phase—two days after surgery), T3 (adjuvant therapy phase—when making decisions about therapy), and T4 (ongoing recovery—two weeks after completion of chemotherapy or radiation, or six months after surgery if no adjuvant therapy was done).
Patients' psychological well-being (p = 0.033) improved over time in all groups. There was also a significant difference in improvement over time depending on the study group assigned (group plus time effect) (p = 0.004). The TC group had the highest psychological well-being at the adjuvant therapy stage.
No significant effects were noted among partners. No significant effects related to distress from side effects among patients were noted in any group. For patients in the DM control group (group 1), significantly greater side-effect distress was noted compared to all treatment groups combined (p = 0.02). The side-effect severity for patients had a significant effect over time, and mean severity of side effects was significantly higher from baseline to T4 in the DM control group (p = 0.016). Partners in the SE and TC group (group 4) reported significantly fewer side effects than those in the TC-only group (group 3) (p = 0.017), and a significant overall effect of the intervention (p = 0.024) on physical symptoms was reported. Physical symptoms reported by partners did not demonstrate an effect from time. Partners' overall health scores were not affected, and patients' overall health improved over time for all groups (p < 0.0001). The intervention had no significant effect on vocational adjustment for patients, and in partners, both group assignment and time demonstrated significant main effects in analysis (p </= 0.05). Only time appeared to affect social adjustment.
Most outcomes for patients and partners improved over time, regardless of group assignment. The combination of standardized SE and TC as provided in the study was associated with improved psychological well-being across the timeframe of the study.
Both patient and partner reactions to breast cancer vary over time and tend to improve over time, and findings suggest that patient needs and issues vary at different phases in care, suggesting the need for different strategies and interventions according to the phase of care. SE and supportive counseling activities can be helpful to patients and caregivers in management of physical symptoms and side effects. TC intervention in combination with SE activities as provided by video, as in this study, may provide a practical alternative method to provide this type of intervention.