PediCARE: Development of a poverty-targeted intervention for pediatric cancer

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 Oct;68(10):e29195. doi: 10.1002/pbc.29195. Epub 2021 Jun 30.


Background: Poverty is associated with inferior psychosocial outcomes, higher rates of relapse, and decreased overall survival in children with cancer. Despite this, there are few evidence-based, poverty-targeted interventions and none specific to pediatric oncology. To address this gap, we developed and refined the Pediatric Cancer Resource Equity (PediCARE) intervention, a household material hardship (HMH) targeted intervention providing transportation and groceries to pediatric oncology families.

Methods: This was a single-arm pilot study conducted at a single, large, tertiary pediatric cancer center. Newly diagnosed patients with HMH-exposure were directly assigned to receive PediCARE for a total of three months. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to evaluate its acceptability and to rapidly refine the intervention.

Results: Nine families (100% of those approached) consented to enrollment with no attrition over the three-month study period. Families were highly satisfied with the intervention and recommended participation to others. All of the families utilized the grocery delivery component of PediCARE, and seven utilized the transportation component. Qualitative participant feedback was used to rapidly refine the intervention including logistics of intervention delivery, and dose of intervention components.

Conclusion: PediCARE, a poverty-targeted intervention, was highly acceptable to pediatric oncology families. The intervention was refined in real-time utilizing quantitative and qualitative feedback. Next steps include intervention evaluation in a randomized, controlled feasibility study.

Keywords: cancer; disparities; equity; household material hardship; intervention; pediatrics; poverty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poverty*