Outcomes of a nurse-delivered psychosocial intervention for weight- and eating-related distress in family carers of patients with advanced cancer

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2013 Mar;19(3):116, 118-23. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2013.19.3.116.


Background: International expert consensus is that psychosocial intervention is likely to help advanced cancer patients and their family carers affected by weight loss and poor appetite.

Purpose: To investigate the potential for a psychosocial intervention, the Macmillan Approach to Weight and Eating (MAWE), to mitigate weight- and eating-related distress in carers of patients with advanced cancer.

Method: A controlled before and after study was conducted with carers of advanced cancer patients living in the community in the South of England in 2006-7. It used mixed methods to compare carers exposed to MAWE (n=12) with a control group (n=14).

Results: Weight- and eating-related distress improved in carers exposed to MAWE. Qualitative analysis found that MAWE may help carers by providing information, reassurance, and support for self-management.

Conclusion: This preliminary study of MAWE suggests that it provides benefits as a supportive intervention. Further testing is warranted using a more robust experimental design.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Eating*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Stress, Psychological / nursing*
  • Weight Gain*