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Effects of Technology Assisted Stepped Collaborative Care Intervention to Improve Symptoms in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: The T Ccare Randomized Clinical Trial.

Jhamb M, Steel JL, Yabes JG, Roumelioti ME, Erickson S, Devaraj SM, Vowles KE, Vodovotz Y, Beach S, Weisbord SD, Rollman BL, Unruh M. Effects of Technology Assisted Stepped Collaborative Care Intervention to Improve Symptoms in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: The T Ccare Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA internal medicine. 2023 Aug 1; 183(8):795-805.

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IMPORTANCE: Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) undergoing long-term hemodialysis often experience a high burden of debilitating symptoms for which effective treatment options are limited. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of a stepped collaborative care intervention vs attention control for reducing fatigue, pain, and depression among patients with ESKD undergoing long-term hemodialysis. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Technology Assisted Stepped Collaborative Care (T Ccare) was a parallel-group, single-blinded, randomized clinical trial of adult ( 18 years) patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis and experiencing clinically significant levels of fatigue, pain, and/or depression for which they were considering treatment. The trial took place in 2 US states (New Mexico and Pennsylvania) from March 1, 2018, to June 31, 2022. Data analyses were performed from July 1, 2022, to April 10, 2023. INTERVENTIONS: The intervention group received 12 weekly sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy delivered via telehealth in the hemodialysis unit or patient home, and/or pharmacotherapy using a stepped approach in collaboration with dialysis and primary care teams. The attention control group received 6 telehealth sessions of health education. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The coprimary outcomes were changes in fatigue (measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue), average pain severity (Brief Pain Inventory), and/or depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II) scores at 3 months. Patients were followed up for 12 months to assess maintenance of intervention effects. RESULTS: There were 160 participants (mean [SD] age, 58 [14] years; 72 [45%] women and 88 [55%] men; 21 [13%] American Indian, 45 [28%] Black, 28 [18%] Hispanic, and 83 [52%] White individuals) randomized, 83 to the intervention and 77 to the control group. In the intention-to-treat analyses, when compared with controls, patients in the intervention group experienced statistically and clinically significant reductions in fatigue (mean difference [md], 2.81; 95% CI, 0.86 to 4.75; P = .01) and pain severity (md, -0.96; 95% CI, -1.70 to -0.23; P = .02) at 3 months. These effects were sustained at 6 months (md, 3.73; 95% CI, 0.87 to 6.60; P = .03; and BPI, -1.49; 95% CI, -2.58 to -0.40; P = .02). Improvement in depression at 3 months was statistically significant but small (md -1.73; 95% CI, -3.18 to -0.28; P = .02). Adverse events were similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This randomized clinical trial found that a technology assisted stepped collaborative care intervention delivered during hemodialysis led to modest but clinically meaningful improvements in fatigue and pain at 3 months vs the control group, with effects sustained until 6 months. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT03440853.

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