Left to Right: Project Manager Maryrose Malt, Nurse-Counsellor Hanna Beebe, Nurse-Counsellor Sarah Fox, Lead Investigator Associate Professor Vanessa Beesley

The process trial 

Supporting someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is very difficult. Many people need extra help as they support their patient with challenging physical and emotional needs.

Associate Professor Vanessa Beesley and Professor Rachel Neale and their team from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, UQ, QUT, RBWH and PanKind, The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation are conducting The Pancreatic cancer Relatives Counselling and Education Support Service (PRoCESS) trial.  

This trial uses a hybrid effectiveness-implementation randomised controlled trial design to test the team’s previously piloted counselling intervention in pancreatic cancer carers. It is open for recruitment now and aims to recruit 200 carers. Half will be offered counselling sessions, and half will receive a comprehensive information book.

Eligible carers are those who are the main support person for somebody who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within the last 3 months.

Carers who are randomised to the intervention are offered ten one-hour telephone counselling sessions over 4 months (weekly for 4 weeks, then fortnightly) and then monthly sessions if desired until the end of the study. The counselling sessions are delivered by a trained nurse via video or phone. The intervention is based on a self-efficacy paradigm and involves assessing needs, delivering intervention components appropriate to those needs, and providing feedback to clinicians where the nurse’s assessment is that further medical investigation and management may be warranted.

Participants in their earlier feasibility study highly recommended the counselling service. One caregiving wife said:

In the beginning I felt very alone, not necessarily isolated, I just felt defeated. I didn’t think the support service would help me very much but it actually did help me much more than I ever thought. Whatever we talked about made me feel better or put me in a better place. I just feel a bit stronger. I definitely would recommend it.

Another caregiving husband said:

It’s been a very difficult road, one that I don’t know whether people’s imagination can extend to. My wife and I have been faced with decisions about the treatments and the side-effects. One day you’re having your life, and then the next is the worst possible day you could ever have in your life. And then that goes into the worst possible week. And then the worst possible month. But talking to Hanna was extremely helpful.

Clinicians who would like to promote self-referral to this trial through displaying posters and/or study brochures in their waiting rooms please contact the project manager Maryrose Malt on 07 3845 3594 or email: ProcessTrial@qimrberghofer.edu.au.

Carers can register their interest in participating at: www.qimrberghofer.edu.au/process-trial or by scanning the QR code (above) or by contacting the project manager (as above).

For other enquiries please contact the lead investigator Vanessa.Beesley@qimrberghofer.edu.au