Document Type


Publication Date


Date of Final Presentation


Committee Chair

Sarah M. Ahten, DNP, RN, NC-BC

Committee Member

Andrea Lambe, DNP, RN, CEN

Coordinator/ Chair of DNP Program

Pamela Gehrke

Abstract/ Executive Summary

Background: Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is an intensive and complex treatment for certain blood cancers. Caregivers are required for patients receiving this treatment. Caregivers frequently experience caregiver burden. Providing an intervention to alleviate caregiver burden can positively impact patient and caregiver health outcomes.

Project Design: The following was the project design: 1) review the literature to understand the best practices to prevent caregiver burden for caregivers of patients undergoing HSCT, 2) development a pilot quality improvement program based on the evidence, 3) implementation of the pilot, and 4) obtaining feedback from facilitators and participants to optimize intervention for ongoing use. The pilot consisted of four one-on-one sessions with a social worker utilizing the following topics from the PEPRR intervention. Two topics were dedicated to each session. The subjects were: 1) Program overview, instructions for biofeedback device and introduction to stress management, 2) impact of stress on physical and emotional health, 3) how thoughts and emotions lead to stress, 4) coping skills training, 5) management of fatigue, sleep and other health behaviors, 6) addressing lack of control, uncertainty, and fear, 7) improving partner communication strategies and adapting to changing role(s), and 8) effective utilization of social support (Laudenslager et al., 2015)

Results: Results showed that (a) an adapted PEPRR intervention could be implemented in an organization in the Northwest; (b) caregivers and social workers participating in the intervention provided positive feedback; (c) participation rates by caregivers was lower than anticipated, and (d) caregivers and social workers recommended continuing to offer intervention.

Recommendations: Recommendations include (a) modifying sessions as recommended by social workers; (b) in future phases of the pilot ask caregivers who decline to participate why and what would make them more likely to participate, and (c) create a more formal request for caregivers to participate.

Conclusions: The findings of this pilot intervention revealed that recruiting caregivers to participate in a local setting could be more challenging potentially due to the population. However, both caregivers and social workers who participated in the intervention gave positive feedback and recommended that the program should continue beyond the pilot.