Partnering with families to promote nutrition in cancer care: Feasibility and acceptability of the PIcNIC intervention

Alex Molassiotis, Shelley Roberts, Huilin Cheng, Henry K.F. To, Po Shan Ko, Wang Lam, Yuk Fong Lam, Jessica Abbott, Deborah Kiefer, Jasotha Sanmugarajah, Andrea P. Marshall

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Malnutrition is frequent in patients with cancer, particularly those in advanced stages of the disease. The aim of the present study was to test the feasibility of a family-centred nutritional intervention, based on the Family Systems theory and past research. Methods: This was a single-arm trial assessing feasibility (eligibility, recruitment and retention rates); acceptability by patients, family caregivers and health professionals; intervention fidelity, and energy/protein intake (in one site only). Two sites were involved; one each in Australia (AUS) and Hong Kong (HK), with one site delivering the intervention to oncology patients receiving curative treatments in the hospital, and the other to advanced cancer patients in the home. Results: The sample included 53 patients (23 from AUS and 30 from HK), 22 caregivers (3 from AUS and 19 from HK) and 30 health professionals (20 from AUS and 10 from HK). Recruitment was difficult in the acute inpatient oncology care setting (AUS) and feasibility criteria were not met. Sufficient recruitment took place in the home care setting with advanced cancer patients in HK. Patients, family members and health professionals found the intervention helpful and acceptable, and patients and families indicated they would take part in the future in a similar study. Energy and protein intake improved from baseline to end of intervention (mean 22 kcal/kg/day to 26 and 0.9 g/kg/day to 1.0 respectively). Conclusion: The new intervention is feasible in a home setting when delivered to patients with advanced cancer, acceptable to patients and families, and has the potential to improve nutritional status in patients. A large randomised trial is warranted in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018


  • Advanced cancer
  • Eating-related distress
  • Energy
  • Family caregiver
  • Intervention
  • Nutrition
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this