Investigating the cost-effectiveness of videotelephone based support for newly diagnosed paediatric oncology patients and their families: design of a randomised controlled trial
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Background: Providing ongoing family centred support is an integral part of childhood cancer care. For families living in regional and remote areas, opportunities to receive specialist support are limited by the availability of health care professionals and accessibility, which is often reduced due to distance, time, cost and transport. The primary aim of this work is to investigate the cost-effectiveness of videotelephony to support regional and remote families returning home for the first time with a child newly diagnosed with cancer Methods/design: We will recruit 162 paediatric oncology patients and their families to a single centre randomised controlled trial. Patients from regional and remote areas, classified by Accessibility/ Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+) greater than 0.2, will be randomised to a videotelephone support intervention or a usual support control group. Metropolitan families (ARIA+ = 0.2) will be recruited as an additional usual support control group. Families allocated to the videotelephone support intervention will have access to usual support plus education, communication, counselling and monitoring with specialist multidisciplinary team members via a videotelephone service for a 12-week period following first discharge home. Families in the usual support control group will receive standard care i.e., specialist multidisciplinary team members provide support either face-to-face during inpatient stays, outpatient clinic visits or home visits, or via telephone for families who live far away from the hospital. The primary outcome measure is parental health related quality of life as measured using the Medical Outcome Survey (MOS) Short Form SF-12 measured at baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks. The secondary outcome measures are: parental informational and emotional support; parental perceived stress, parent reported patient quality of life and parent reported sibling quality of life, parental satisfaction with care, cost of providing improved support, health care utilisation and financial burden for families. Discussion: This investigation will establish the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of using videotelephony to improve the clinical and psychosocial support provided to regional and remote paediatric oncology patients and their families.
BMC Health Services Research
© 2007 Bensink et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.