Samuel Dubé and Shabbir M.H. Alibhai
Martine T.E. Puts, Schroder Sattar, Takami Fossat, Margaret I. Fitch, Geraldine J. Macdonald, Tina Hsu, Ewa Szumacher, Douglas A. Stephens, Joseph Robinson, David Macdonald, Andrew S. Choate, Eric Pitters, Barbara Liu, Lianne Jeffs, Katherine S. McGilton, and Shabbir M.H. Alibhai
Background: Patient engagement in research may lead to better-designed studies and improved health outcomes. The objectives of this study were to identify the research priorities of older adults with cancer (OAWCs) and their caregivers and examine how to engage these individuals in research teams and what supports are needed. Methods: We conducted 3 public meetings and 7 focus groups to delineate research priorities and the supports needed to facilitate integration of OAWCs and their caregivers on research teams. Results: A total of 33 older adults and 19 caregivers attended a public meeting and 27 older adults and 17 caregivers participated in a focus group. Most of the OAWCs and their caregivers had never participated in research before. Three themes were identified from the focus groups: (1) motivation to be on a team; (2) ability to make meaningful contributions; and (3) logistical considerations to facilitate engagement. Most participants were motivated to be a research team member and be involved in all steps of research if it could benefit them or future patients and caregivers. OAWCs and their caregivers were highly motivated to improve outcomes. Required logistics included flexibility regarding time and location, accessibility to computer technology, transportation support, materials worded in lay language, and attending/having short training sessions, as well as the presence of peer support. Conclusions: OAWCs and their caregivers are very motivated and willing to participate in research and to be research team members. Logistics and the social aspects of being on a team are important.