Grant Application

Lauren Hand, MD, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital 

Proposed Innovation

Caregivers play a vital role in providing emotional support and care for patients with gynecologic cancers. But these unpaid caregivers typically receive little support or training, leading to high levels of distress and unmet needs. Many caregivers turn to the internet for information and support groups, or rely on an informal network of friends, family, and faith groups for help.

The goal of this project is to identify caregivers early in the inpatient setting to ensure they receive the assistance they need once their loved one is discharged. The goal is to provide better support for caregivers throughout the course of the disease.

Improvements in Action

Through this initiative, those identified as caregivers will be assessed while patients are hospitalized. A “distress thermometer” and caregiver check list will be used to determine their level of distress, pinpoint areas of need, and link them to support services provided through UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital’s new Family Support and Research Center, located in the Gynecologic Oncology outpatient clinic.

A research nurse coordinator will follow up with a phone call 48 hours after discharge and again, as needed, to ensure caregivers continue to receive the support they need.

Intended Outcomes

By providing better support to caregivers throughout the course of illness, patients undergoing treatment for gynecologic cancers are expected to benefit from reduced hospital readmissions and emergency room visits. Patients and caregivers also are expected to experience greater overall satisfaction.