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Nguyen HQ, Mularski RA, Edwards PE, Lynn J, Machado MT, McBurnie MA, McMullen C, Mittman BS, Reinke LR, Shen E, Wang SE, Werch HS, HomePal Research Group. Protocol for a Noninferiority Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Home-Based Palliative Care (HomePal). Journal of palliative medicine. 2019 Sep 1; 22(S1):20-33.
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Abstract: As health care systems strive to meet the growing needs of seriously ill patients with high symptom burden and functional limitations, they need evidence about how best to deliver home-based palliative care (HBPC). We compare a standard HBPC model that includes routine home visits by nurses and prescribing clinicians with a tech-supported model that aims to promote timely interprofessional team coordination using video consultation with the prescribing clinician while the nurse is in the patient's home. We hypothesize that tech-supported HBPC will be no worse compared with standard HBPC. This study is a pragmatic, cluster randomized noninferiority trial conducted across 14 Kaiser Permanente sites in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. Registered nurses ( = 102) were randomized to the two models so that approximately half of the participating patient-caregiver dyads will be in each study arm. Adult English or Spanish-speaking patients (estimate 10,000) with any serious illness and a survival prognosis of 1-2 years and their caregivers (estimate 4800) are being recruited to the HomePal study over 2.5 years. The primary patient outcomes are symptom improvement at one month and days spent at home. The primary caregiver outcome is perception of preparedness for caregiving. During implementation we had to balance the rigors of conducting a clinical trial with pragmatic realities to ensure responsiveness to culture, structures, workforce, workflows of existing programs across multiple sites, and emerging policy and regulatory changes. We built close partnerships with stakeholders across multiple representative groups to define the comparators, prioritize and refine measures and study conduct, and optimize rigor in our analytical approaches. We have also incorporated extensive fidelity monitoring, mixed-method implementation evaluations, and early planning for dissemination to anticipate and address challenges longitudinally. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT#03694431.

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