Feasibility of Virtual and In-Person Qigong for Cancer Caregivers during COVID-19 Pandemic


In the United States, there are approximately 43.5 million caregivers providing greater than 40 hours of home care per week. Cancer caregiving can cause signi cant distress leading to lower quality of life and this burden has increased during the pandemic. Research has not evaluated the virtual delivery of mind-body programs for caregivers. This presentation will focus on preliminary ndings of a randomized clinical trial evaluating the feasibility of a popular mind-body intervention, Qigong, among caregivers. Evidence supports that Qigong in groups can improve physical and emotional health in diverse populations. In this study, caregivers (n=47) were randomized into one of three, 12-week programs: (1) in-person; (2) internet-based modules supplemented with one-on-one virtual learning support; or (3) a self-care group. Outcomes include quality of life, distress, perceived social support, physical and cognitive function at 12 weeks and 6 months. Participants completing the Qiqong intervention (in-person or virtual) during the pandemic had higher adherence rates (class attendance and home practice) than those who attended pre-pandemic. Caregivers receiving the virtual intervention during the pandemic had decreased burden and improved quality of life. This study highlights the importance of addressing caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and supports use of virtual interventions for this underrepresented population.



covid-19, qigong, cancer caregiving, mind-body intervention