Better support for people with cancer and their caregivers through international collaboration

Better support for people with cancer and their caregivers through international collaboration

Transnational project kicks-off to evaluate Dyadic Psychosocial and Educational Interventions for People with Advanced Cancer and their Informal Caregivers (DIAdIC)

On 10 January 2019, experts from nine research institutions from Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have started the DIAdIC project, a large transdisciplinary project to provide better support to people with advanced cancer and their family caregivers. A diagnosis of advanced cancer has ramifications for the person with the disease as well as for the family caregiver. Good psychosocial and educational support for both can substantially reduce these and improve the quality of life of both. The international project will provide the needed evidence about which psychosocial and educational interventions are most effective.

According to the Project Coordinator, Prof Joachim Cohen of the VUB, “a major strength and uniqueness of the DIAdIC project is that it considers the patient-caregiver dyad as a unit and that it supports them using tailored interventions that are complementary to the existing professional care.  In a context of limited resources for healthcare there are also limitations to how much professional caregivers such as physicians and nurses can provide psychosocial and educational support. By supporting the dyad in their own home, outside of a contact with health care services, we expect to have more impact on improving families’ wellbeing.”

The DIAdIC project will develop and evaluate two different methods of administering the interventions: a face-to-face method provided in the patient-caregiver dyad’s home by a specially trained professional and an eHealth self-administered tool. Both are tailored to the needs of both patients and caregivers. The interventions will address five core areas:

  • supporting family involvement in care
  • addressing issues of hopelessness, fears and concerns about the disease
  • increasing coping effectiveness to deal with stress related to the disease and caregiving
  • reducing uncertainty about the disease and treatments
  • teaching self-care strategies for symptom management

The project is funded by the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 and has a budget of over 4 million EUR for a period of five years, until December 2023. By that time the interventions will be available for all European countries to provide good psychosocial and educational support to patients and their family carers. With almost 4 million people in the EU newly diagnosed with cancer every year, the impact of the project could be enormous.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825722.

Contact person:
Prof Joachim Cohen, Project Coordinator

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