Connect-ROD – development and qualitative evaluation of a community-based group intervention to support well-being in patients with a rare or orphan disease
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Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2024 Jul 5;19(1):254. doi: 10.1186/s13023-024-03252-4. PMID: 38965557; PMCID: PMC11225341.

Connect-ROD – development and qualitative evaluation of a community-based group intervention to support well-being in patients with a rare or orphan disease

Authors: Cécile Bardon 1Marie-Éve Rioux 2Mélina Rivard 2Floryana-Maria Viquez Porras 2Julie Zaky 2

Affiliation:

  1. Psychology Department, Université du Québec À Montréal (UQAM), 100 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, Québec, H2X 3P2, Canada. bardon.cecile@uqam.ca.
  2. Psychology Department, Université du Québec À Montréal (UQAM), 100 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, Québec, H2X 3P2, Canada.

Abstract:

Background: Patients living with various rare or orphan diseases (ROD) experience common psychosocial difficulties. Those need emerge from a combination of factors, such as the large variety of patients and the rarity of resources, as well as concentrated efforts on physical health needs that yielded increases in life expectancy and quality in patients. A gap is therefore rising in the consideration of psychosocial needs of patients, such as coping with the impacts of physical limitations, reducing social isolation and distress. To contribute to address this gap, we developed, pilot-tested and evaluated the acceptability, feasibility, implementation, and short-term effects of Connect-ROD, an online group intervention to support adult patients with a ROD (AP-ROD), which aims to improve coping mechanisms, reinforce sense of control, and support personal goals of AP-ROD. A qualitative study comprising of in-depth pretests, post-test interviews and standardized questionnaires, was conducted with 14 participants in two consecutive intervention groups.

Results: The Connect-ROD intervention is strongly anchored in acceptance and commitment therapy as well as community psychology approaches. A pilot test allowed us to improve on the initial structure and to produce a manualized 10-week program delivered online, made up of 2-h sessions comprising formal activities, exchanges and homework. The evaluation showed satisfactory acceptability and accessibility, compliant delivery by facilitators, and promising short-term effects on personal objectives, sense of control, coping mechanisms, symptom management, acceptance of the emotions associated with the disease, distress, self-efficacy, social support and connectedness. The program did not show short-term effects on overall quality of life.

Conclusion: It is recommended that Connect-ROD is evaluated on a larger scale. It seems promising to support various AP-ROD who live with the complex psychosocial consequences of their disease.

Keywords: Acceptance and commitment therapy; Group intervention; Orphan disease; Program development; Program evaluation; Psychological intervention; Rare disease.

Download: https://ojrd.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13023-024-03252-4