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Research project: Enhancing the role of carers in the outpatient chemotherapy setting - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

This project is using methods akin to experience based co-design to determine the nature, content and format of an intervention aimed at helping family members of patients having chemotherapy. This project has now finished please visit for report summary and video.  

Many cancer patients receive ambulatory chemotherapy and rely on carers (family and friends) to support them at home through toxic and often lengthy treatments. Carers help monitor and manage symptoms, provide emotional support and inform health professionals (HPs) if patients become unwell during treatment.

In such ways carers are central to patient wellbeing. However, the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Death (NCEPOD, 2008) determined numerous patients wait more than 24 hours to seek help for serious toxicity; some wait 2 weeks. Such avoidable delays result in late treatment for neutropenic sepsis, and lead to poor patient outcomes and increased mortality (NCEPOD, 2008). Whilst carers seek help for patients’ symptoms and provide crucial support during ambulatory treatment, they are not provided specific education or support to prepare them for these roles.

 Little is known about carers’ experience of supporting someone through chemotherapy or how HPs and carers can work together to enhance carers’ experiences. The research will involve the research team and HPs working collaboratively with carers to develop interventions to enhance their role in providing support in the home to patients undergoing chemotherapy. This will improve both carers’ experiences and increase earlier reporting of important treatment side effects. The study will:
5. Understand support provided by health professionals to carers in a chemotherapy outpatient setting
6. Develop a short film depicting carers’ experiences of supporting someone through chemotherapy
7. Bring healthcare professionals and carers together in co-designing components of an intervention for carers that will:
i. Provide information and support specifically for carers
ii. Enhance their understanding of chemotherapy
iii. Develop their perceived confidence in providing support to their friend/relative
iv. Improve their experience of providing informal care
8. Develop and implement a carer intervention

Explore its feasibility and acceptability, impact on carers’ knowledge of chemotherapy and on their experiences of providing informal care.

Project team

Professor Alison Richardson

Professor Emma Ream, King’s College London
Dr Glenn Robert
Ms Rebecca Verity
Ms Catherine Oakley

Project funder

Dimbleby Cancer Care Research Fund

Associated research themes

Informal caregiver
Supportive care

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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