Developing a community-based intervention to improve quality of life in people with colorectal cancer: A complex intervention development study

Nicola M. Gray, Julia L. Allan, Peter Murchie, Susan Browne, Susan Hall, Gill Hubbard, Marie Johnston, Amanda J Lee, Aileen McKinley, Macleod Una, Justin Presseau, Leslie Samuel, Sally Wyke, Neil C Campbell

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Objectives To develop and pilot a theory and evidence-based intervention to improve quality of life (QoL) in people with colorectal cancer.

Design A complex intervention development study.

Setting North East Scotland and Glasgow.

Participants Semistructured interviews with people with colorectal cancer (n=28), cancer specialists (n=16) and primary care health professionals (n=14) and pilot testing with patients (n=12).

Interventions A single, 1 h nurse home visit 6–12 weeks after diagnosis, and telephone follow-up 1 week later (with a view to ongoing follow-up in future).

Primary and secondary outcome measures Qualitative assessment of intervention feasibility and acceptability.

Results Modifiable predictors of QoL identified previously were symptoms (fatigue, pain, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, insomnia, anorexia/cachexia, poor psychological well-being, sexual problems) and impaired activities. To modify these symptoms and activities, an intervention based on Control Theory was developed to help participants identify personally important symptoms and activities; set appropriate goals; use action planning to progress towards goals; self-monitor progress and identify (and tackle) barriers limiting progress. Interview responses were generally favourable and included recommendations about timing and style of delivery that were incorporated into the intervention. The pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of intervention delivery.

Conclusions Through multidisciplinary collaboration, a theory-based, acceptable and feasible intervention to improve QoL in colorectal cancer patients was developed, and can now be evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002596
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2013


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