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FOCUS Triage


Focus Triage tests if family dyads randomly assigned to either a brief or extensive family-based program of care (FOCUS Program) have better patient and caregiver outcomes than dyads randomly assigned to usual care. Outcomes being studied: appraisal factors (i.e., appraisal of illness/caregiving, uncertainty, hopelessness), coping resources (coping strategies, interpersonal relationships, self-efficacy), and quality of life domains (emotional, social, physical, and functional).
This study also examines if patients’ risk for distress and other factors moderate the effect of the brief or extensive program on outcomes.


Aim One: Determine if family dyads randomly assigned to either a brief or extended family-based program of care (The FOCUS Program) have better proximal and distal patient and caregiver outcomes from both a clinical and economic perspective than dyads randomly assigned to usual care.

Aim Two: Determine if the brief or extended program of care has a differential effect on patient and caregiver outcomes depending on the patient’s risk for distress.


Patients are eligible if they have been diagnosed with advanced breast, colorectal, lung or prostate cancer (i.e., Stage III or IV), and are within a six-month window of having a new advanced cancer diagnosis, progression of their advanced cancer, or change of treatment for it. Eligibility also includes a life expectancy six months, age 21 or older, living within 75 miles of participating cancer centers, and having a family caregiver willing to participate. Caregivers are eligible if they are age 18 or older and identified by patients as their primary caregiver (i.e., provider of emotional and/or physical care). Family caregivers are excluded if they have been diagnosed with cancer in the previous year or are receiving cancer treatment.

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