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Qigong Program for Caregivers of Cancer Patients

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March 26, 2021 - Informal caregivers, often family and friends, experience significant psychological and physical distress leading to reductions in health and quality of life (QOL). Mind-body interventions focused on caregivers are often limited and do not address multiple barriers, including caregivers' economic, geographic, and time constraints. Translation of in-person, community-based interventions to Internet-based delivery may offer greater accessibility for caregivers, leading to increased adherence.

Several institutions, including University of Houston, Texas Woman's University, Houston Martial Arts Academy, the University of Texas, Harvard Medical School and University of South Florida, created a program called Caring for Caregivers with Mind-Body. It implements a three-arm, pilot, randomized controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility of delivering a Qigong intervention (Eight Brocades) to cancer caregivers.

A total of 54 cancer caregivers will be randomized into one of three 12-week programs: (1) community-based Qigong, (2) Internet-based Qigong, or (3) a self-care control group. Study-specific aims include (1) modify intervention content for online delivery, (2) evaluate the feasibility of recruiting and retaining cancer caregivers into a 12-week clinical trial, and (3) evaluate the feasibility of collecting and managing data, and the suitability of questionnaires for this population. Several outcomes will be assessed, including caregiver QOL, caregiver burden, caregiver distress, perceived social support, physical function, and cognitive function. A 6-month follow-up will also assess longer-term changes in QOL and psychosocial well-being.

Findings will be used to inform the design and conduct of a large-scale comparative effectiveness trial evaluating caregivers who received Qigong training delivered through community-based vs Internet-based programs. A finding that either or both programs are effective would inform care and options for caregivers.




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