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Research Project

Facilitating Advance Care Planning Discussion between Patients with Advanced Cancer and Their Family Caregivers Using a Resilience-Building Intervention

Patients with advanced cancer experience high levels of anxiety and depression and other barriers that affect their advance care planning discussions with their family caregivers. There have been few clinical trials focusing on resilience-building interventions for empowering patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers to initiate advance care planning discussions and sustain engagement. This research will provide new insights into the barriers and facilitators associated with advance care planning while developing and evaluating a resilience-building intervention to improve knowledge, self-efficacy, resilience, anxiety, and depression for patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers.

Principal Investigator
Longcoy, Li-Ting H.
Start Date
End Date
Funding Source
National Institute of Nursing Research


This K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award's overall goal is to develop and assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a web-based resilience-building intervention to address patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers’ appraisals of advance care planning (ACP) and individual and dyadic coping. ACP is a process to facilitate decision-making for future medical care. By supporting individuals in understanding and sharing their values and goals, ACP can help patients meet their goals for health care treatment, decrease the emotional burden of decision-making for family caregivers, and increase satisfaction with end-of-life care and quality of death. Avoidance of ACP can delay the introduction of palliative and hospice care and risk patients receiving costly and aggressive care that not only is goal-discordant but also increases family caregivers’ anxiety and depression. The rationale for a web-based resilience-building intervention is that patients and family caregivers can be empowered to accurately appraise and use appropriate coping strategies for ACP by increasing their resilience skills. Building resilience has shown promising results in reducing cancer distress in adolescents and young adults with cancer and their parents. The proposed study is guided by the Systemic Transactional Model and utilizes a dyadic intervention approach. The training goals of the proposed study are to (1) develop expertise in dyadic study design and intervention development for people with cancer and their caregivers; (2) gain specialized knowledge in digital positive psychology interventions; (3) gain skills in leading randomized controlled trials and dissemination and implementation science; and (4) secure a tenure-track position. The Specific Aims for the K99 phase are to (1) identify the ACP deliberation process among 20 dyads of patients with advanced cancer and family caregivers and (2) conduct usability testing among 9 dyads to refine the content and design of the web-based resilience-building intervention. The Specific Aims for the R00 phase are to (1) assess the feasibility and acceptability of the web-based resilience-building intervention among patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers through a randomized clinical trial in a cancer center setting; (2) evaluate the preliminary efficacy of the intervention compared to usual care on changes in the completion of advance directives (primary outcome) and on patient and caregiver resilience, individual and dyadic coping, anxiety, and depression (secondary outcomes); and (3) explore the dyadic effects of resilience within patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers on individual and dyadic coping, anxiety, and depression, using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. The expected outcomes are identification and development of the essential components of the web-based intervention (K99 phase) and data that provides a strong foundation for further development of the intervention for R01 applications and future research (R00 phase).