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Recruitment and retention challenges and strategies in randomized controlled trials of psychosocial interventions for children with cancer and their parents : a collective case study

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

In pediatric oncology there are few examples of successful recruitment and retention strategies in psychosocial care research. This study aims to summarize experiences, challenges, and strategies for conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of psychosocial intervention studies among children with cancer and their parent(s). We conducted a collective case study. To identify the cases, Pubmed and two trial registries were searched for ongoing and finished RCTs of psychosocial intervention studies for children with cancer and their parents. Online semi-structured expert interviews discussing recruitment and retention challenges and strategies were performed with principal investigators and research staff members of the identified cases. Nine studies were identified. Investigators and staff from seven studies participated, highlighting challenges and strategies within three major themes: eligibility, enrollment and retention. Regarding eligibility, collaborating constructively with healthcare professionals and involving them before the start of the study were essential. Being flexible, training the research staff, enabling alignment with the participants' situation, and providing consistency in contact between the research staff member and the families were important strategies for optimizing enrollment and retention. All studies followed a stepped process in recruitment.Conclusion: Although recruitment and retention in some selected studies were successful, there is a paucity of evidence on experienced recruitment and retention challenges in pediatric psychosocial research and best practices on optimizing them. The strategies outlined in this study can help researchers optimize their protocol and trial-implementation, and contribute to better psychosocial care for children with cancer and their parents.
ISSN: 1432-1076
Issue: 10
Volume: 182
Pages: 4683 - 4706
Publication year:2023