Many partners of incurably ill cancer patients experience caregiver burden. The eHealth application “Oncokompas” supports these partners to manage their caregiver needs and to find optimal supportive care for themselves. The aim of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to investigate the reach of Oncokompas and its efficacy on caregiver burden, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
The reach was estimated based on eligibility, participation rate, and an evaluation of the recruitment process. Efficacy on caregiver burden was measured using the Caregiver Strain Index + (CSI +). Secondary outcomes were self-efficacy (General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE)) and HRQOL (EQ-5D VAS). Assessments were scheduled at baseline, 2 weeks after randomization and 3 months after baseline. Linear mixed models were used to compare longitudinal changes between the experimental and control group from baseline to the 3-month follow-up.
The reach, in terms of eligibility and participation rate, was estimated at 83–91%. Partners were most likely reached via palliative care consultants, patient organizations, and palliative care networks. In the one-and-a-half-year recruitment period and via the 101 organizations involved, 58 partners were included. There were no significant effects of Oncokompas on caregiver burden, self-efficacy, or HRQOL.
The reach of Oncokompas among interested individuals was high, but the difficulties that were encountered to include partners suggest that the reach in real life may be lower. This study showed no effect of Oncokompas on caregiver burden, self-efficacy, or HRQOL in partners of incurably ill cancer patients.
The results of this study may be used in the process of developing, efficacy testing, and implementing eHealth applications for caregivers of incurably ill cancer patients.
Netherlands Trial Register identifier: NTR7636/NL7411. Registered on November 23, 2018 (https://www.trialregister.nl/).