Skip to main content
Grant Details

Grant Number: 3R01CA262039-03S1 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Dionne-Odom, James
Organization: University Of Alabama At Birmingham
Project Title: Decision Support Training for Advanced Cancer Family Caregivers: the Cascade Factorial Trial
Fiscal Year: 2023


A priority in oncology and palliative care is preparing the 3.2 million U.S. family caregivers of persons with cancer to effectively support patients in health-related decision-making from diagnosis to the end of life, particularly in underserved settings. Over 70% of patients with cancer involve family in health decisions, including choices about treatments, surgery, location of care, accessing palliative care, and many others. Patients making these decisions with unprepared family caregivers may experience inadequate family decision support leading to heightened distress and receipt of care/treatments inconsistent with their values and preferences. This in turn may increase distress for family caregivers. There is a critical need to train cancer family caregivers to effectively support patient decision-making; however, few palliative care interventions have been tested to enhance caregiver skills in providing decision support. We have developed CASCADE (CAre Supporters Coached to be Adept DEcision partners), a lay navigator-led, telehealth early palliative care intervention to train advanced cancer caregivers how to effectively partner with patients in health decision making. Evolving out of our prior early palliative care caregiving interventions, decision support relevant content for family caregivers includes principles of effective social support, communication, and Ottawa Decision Guide training; however we do not know which of these components and component interactions influences patient and caregiver decision-making outcomes. Traditional research approaches treat interventions as “bundled” treatment packages, making it difficult to assess definitively which intervention components can be reduced, eliminated, or replaced to improve efficiency. Hence, we propose a randomized 23 (2x2x2) factorial trial, the first such trial in oncology palliative care, using the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) to test components of CASCADE in order to assemble an optimized, scalable version of the intervention. 352 family caregivers of persons with newly-diagnosed advanced cancer will be randomized to receive one or more palliative care lay navigator-delivered decision partnering training components, based on the Ottawa Decision Support Framework and Social Support Effectiveness Theory: 1) psychoeducation on social support effectiveness in decision support (1 vs. 3 sessions); 2) decision support communication training (yes vs. no); and 3) Ottawa decision Guide training (yes vs. no). We will determine CASCADE components (main effects/interactions) that contribute meaningfully to patient and caregiver outcomes, including patient healthcare utilization (Aim 1) and use those results to build a version of the CASCADE intervention that is maximally effective and scalable (Aim 2). To maximize recruitment, we will recruit from two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA. Using the innovative MOST framework will yield a highly novel and cost effective version of CASCADE primed for confirmatory RCT testing, scalability, and reproducibility.


None. See parent grant details.

Back to Top