Purpose: A program evaluation was conducted to explore the potential effects of a 90-minute problem-solving education session for persons with advanced cancer and their families.
Description of program: Patients with advanced cancer and their families, who were visiting a tertiary-care outpatient setting, were invited to attend a 90-minute individualized educational session that taught basic problem-solving principles using a cognitive-behavioral framework. Pre-education and posteducation data were collected about the confidence of participants in providing care, their feelings about being informed about resources, and their perceptions of their problem-solving ability.
Results: At baseline, most participants reported low confidence about their ability to provide cancer care and felt uninformed about community resources, but they viewed themselves as moderate-to-good problem solvers. Forty-two educational sessions were delivered to 49 caregivers and 40 patients. Two months later, participants reported feeling more informed about community resources and achieved higher posteducation scores for problem-solving ability. More caregivers than patients reported that reading The Home Care Guide for Cancer made a great deal of difference in their approach to home care.
Clinical implications: Most educational sessions for families affected by cancer focus on delivering information, not on building skills. These findings suggest that a one-on-one educational session that teaches problem-solving skills can be successfully delivered in a busy clinic setting. Family caregivers are especially likely to benefit from this program.