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Acceptance and commitment therapy for patient fatigue interference and caregiver burden in advanced gastrointestinal cancer: Results of a pilot randomized trial.

Mosher CE, Secinti E, Wu W, Kashy DA, Kroenke K, Bricker JB, Helft PR, Turk AA, Loehrer PJ, Sehdev A, Al-Hader AA, Champion VL, Johns SA. Acceptance and commitment therapy for patient fatigue interference and caregiver burden in advanced gastrointestinal cancer: Results of a pilot randomized trial. Palliative Medicine. 2022 Jul 1; 36(7):1104-1117.

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BACKGROUND: Fatigue often interferes with functioning in patients with advanced cancer, resulting in increased family caregiver burden. Acceptance and commitment therapy, a promising intervention for cancer-related suffering, has rarely been applied to dyads coping with advanced cancer. AIM: To examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy for patient-caregiver dyads coping with advanced gastrointestinal cancer. Primary outcomes were patient fatigue interference and caregiver burden. DESIGN: In this pilot trial, dyads were randomized to six weekly sessions of telephone-delivered acceptance and commitment therapy or education/support, an attention control. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and at 2?weeks and 3?months post-intervention. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Forty patients with stage III-IV gastrointestinal cancer and fatigue interference and family caregivers with burden or distress were recruited from two oncology clinics and randomized. RESULTS: The eligibility screening rate (54%) and retention rate (81% at 2?weeks post-intervention) demonstrated feasibility. At 2?weeks post-intervention, acceptance and commitment therapy participants reported high intervention helpfulness (mean? = 4.25/5.00). Group differences in outcomes were not statistically significant. However, when examining within-group change, acceptance and commitment therapy patients showed moderate decline in fatigue interference at both follow-ups, whereas education/support patients did not show improvement at either follow-up. Acceptance and commitment therapy caregivers showed medium decline in burden at 2?weeks that was not sustained at 3?months, whereas education/support caregivers showed little change in burden. CONCLUSIONS: Acceptance and commitment therapy showed strong feasibility, acceptability, and promise and warrants further testing. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04010227. Registered 8 July 2019, = catherine+mosheranddraw = 2andrank = 1.

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