Building Cancer Caregiver Skills Using Simulation

Graphic of steps labeled "Support, Information and Simulation."

Family caregivers are a critical extension of the healthcare team, yet little attention is paid to providing support, information, and training to caregivers in clinical practice. This randomized clinical trial, led by Dr. Susan Mazanec, is testing a psychoeducational intervention that incorporates simulation to train caregivers in skills needed during and after radiation treatment.

Caregivers in the intervention arm receive three, one-on-one sessions with a nurse interventionist during radiation treatments followed by a two-week follow-up call. Interventionists use simulation with mannequins (traditionally used to train clinicians) to teach skills such as mouth and skin care, managing medical devices such as feeding tubes and colostomies, and communication skills. Through surveys given during and after radiation treatment, we assess the effects of the intervention on caregiver, patient, and healthcare utilization outcomes.

We will recruit 180 caregivers from University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. This research is funded by the National Cancer Institute (R37CA240707) and sponsored by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator

Susan R. Mazanec, PhD, RN, FAAN, AOCN, FAAN

Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

Nurse Scientist, UH Seidman Cancer Center

Phone: 216.368.5533


Study Team
Project Manager

Eric Blackstone, MA

Phone: 216.368.0349


Research Assistants

Patricia Brandt

Barbara Boveington-Molter, MS

Sumin Park, MSN, RN

Nurse Interventionists

Patricia Cigetich, RN, CNP

Debby Hornick, BSN, RN, OCN

Claudia Shipman, BSN, RN

  • Jennifer Dorth, MD, Radiation Oncologist, UH Seidman Cancer Center
  • Barbara Daly, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor Emerita, FPB School of Nursing, CWRU
  • Min Yao, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncologist, UH Seidman Cancer Center
  • Mendel Singer, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, CWRU
  • Nicholas Schiltz, PhD, Assistant Professor, FPB School of Nursing, CWRU
  • Celeste Alfes, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, CNE, CHSE-A, FAAN, Professor, FPB School of Nursing, CWRU
  • Rod Rezaee, MD, FACS, Director, Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Reconstruction, UH Cleveland Medical Center
  • Kate Sandstrom, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, AOCN, Nurse Practitioner, Radiation Oncology, UH Seidman Cancer Center