Effect of early and intensive nutrition care, delivered via telephone or mobile application, on quality of life in people with upper gastrointestinal cancer: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND:A major challenge for those living with cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and pancreas), is the impact of the disease and treatment on nutritional status and quality of life. People with cancer and malnutrition have a greater risk of morbidity and mortality. Nutrition intervention is recommended to commence immediately in those who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Novel cost-effective approaches that can deliver early, pre-hospital nutrition intervention before usual hospital dietetic service is commenced are needed. Linking clinicians and patients via mobile health (mHealth) and wireless technologies is a contemporary solution not yet tested for delivery of nutrition therapy to people with cancer. The aim of this study is to commence nutrition intervention earlier than usual care and evaluate the effects of using the telephone or mHealth for intervention delivery. It is hypothesised that participants allocated to receive the early and intensive pre-hospital dietetic service will have more quality-adjusted life years lived compared with control participants. This study will also demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of mHealth for the nutrition management of patients at home undergoing cancer treatment. METHODS:This study is a prospective three-group randomised controlled trial, with a concurrent economic evaluation. The 18 week intervention is provided in addition to usual care and is delivered by two different modes, via telephone (group 1) or via mHealth (group 2), The control group receives usual care alone (group 3). The intervention is an individually tailored, symptom-directed nutritional behavioural management program led by a dietitian. Participants will have at least fortnightly reviews. The primary outcome is quality adjusted life years lived and secondary outcomes include markers of nutritional status. Outcomes will be measured at three, six and 12 months follow up. DISCUSSION:The findings will provide evidence of a strategy to implement early and intensive nutrition intervention outside the hospital setting that can favourably impact on quality of life and nutritional status. This patient-centred approach is relevant to current health service provision and challenges the current reactive delivery model of care. TRIAL REGISTRATION:27th January 2017 Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ( ACTRN12617000152325 ).