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The University of Southampton
Complex Healthcare Processes

Phase 2: Testing the intervention

The education approach has been developed and refined during 2013. In 2014 we are testing whether it has the potential to improve carers' experiences of managing pain medicines.

We also need to know at this stage whether the research will work.  For example, can we recruit enough carers? How will they feel about being involved in the education? We will address these aims using a feasibility trial.

12 nurses working with cancer patients and their carers will be recruited: 6 specialist nurses from services in Hampshire and Dorset; and 6 community nurses in South Wales. We have trained 3 nurses at each site to put the education and support into practice. The other 3 nurses at each site are our ‘control' group. Each nurse is recruiting 5 carers who are being asked to complete questionnaires to measure their experience in managing pain medicines, as well as their overall feelings.

Carers are completing these on first meeting the nurse, and 1 and 4 weeks after they receive the package (intervention group) or usual care (control group). A researcher is interviewing carers about their experiences at 1 and 4 weeks and will interview nurses on study completion.

We can then analyse changes in carers' questionnaire scores and carers' and nurses' experiences to assess whether the education and the study might work on a larger scale.

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