Telehealth intervention found beneficial for patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis

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Patients with advanced gynecologic or gastrointestinal cancers frequently develop peritoneal carcinomatosis, a condition that occurs when tumor cells spread to the peritoneum, the thin membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. Surgical treatments for the condition often leave patients and family members struggling to cope with ostomy pouches (which collect waste and urine outside the body), tubes draining the stomach or kidneys, or catheters draining the abdomen or area around the lungs.

In study results presented at the 2024 Society of Gynecology Oncology Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, Dana-Farber investigators led by Rachel Pozzar, PhD, RN, and Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, Director of Gynecologic Oncology Outcomes Research at Dana-Farber, have found that a nurse-led telehealth intervention has the potential to improve outcomes for patients as well as their caregivers.

The intervention, called BOLSTER, involves six telehealth sessions over four weeks in which a nurse helps patients and caregivers manage the challenges presented by peritoneal carcinomatosis and its treatment. In a pilot study involving 40 patients and 23 caregivers, researchers assessed participants' quality of life, self-efficacy (the ability to take actions necessary for their health), and anxiety and depression.

Of the 22 patients and 10 caregivers who participated in BOLSTER, 91% of patients and 100% of caregivers were satisfied with the intervention. Compared to patients who received enhanced discharge planning, the BOLSTER patients experienced numerically greater improvements in health-related quality of life, health status, self-efficacy, anxiety, and depression and spent more time at home.

A larger study comparing BOLSTER to standard post-discharge care is under way.

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Gynecologic Cancer
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Rachel Pozzar, PhD, RN


Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, Director of Gynecologic Oncology Outcomes Research at Dana-Farber