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Can we engage caregiver spouses of patients with heart failure with a low-intensity, symptom-guided intervention?

Burke RE, Johnson-Koenke R, Nowels C, Silveira MJ, Jones J, Bekelman DB. Can we engage caregiver spouses of patients with heart failure with a low-intensity, symptom-guided intervention? Heart & lung : the journal of critical care. 2016 Mar 1; 45(2):114-20.

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OBJECTIVE: Evaluate a pilot intervention to engage caregivers in management of heart failure (HF) patient symptoms. BACKGROUND: HF impairs quality of life; caregivers provide an important role in HF management. METHODS: We developed modules to help patients report and caregivers alleviate symptoms of depression, pain, dyspnea, and fatigue. Semi-structured interviews followed by a mixed inductive and deductive, team-based analysis were used to evaluate acceptability and feasibility in patients with HF and their caregivers. RESULTS: Participants (n  =  22) expressed significant interest but few used the modules in follow-up. We identified three barriers to acceptability and feasibility: the quality of dyadic relationship, the timing and structure of the intervention, and the patient''s perceived control over their illness. CONCLUSIONS: Future interventions should evaluate dyadic relationship dynamics, match the timing and content of the intervention to the patient population, and enroll patients with perceived control over their illness to maximize intervention acceptability and feasibility.

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