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Feasibility and acceptability of a collaborative care intervention to improve symptoms and quality of life in chronic heart failure: mixed methods pilot trial.

Bekelman DB, Hooker S, Nowels CT, Main DS, Meek P, McBryde C, Hattler B, Lorenz KA, Heidenreich PA. Feasibility and acceptability of a collaborative care intervention to improve symptoms and quality of life in chronic heart failure: mixed methods pilot trial. Journal of palliative medicine. 2014 Feb 1; 17(2):145-51.

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BACKGROUND: People with chronic heart failure (HF) suffer from numerous symptoms that worsen quality of life. The CASA (Collaborative Care to Alleviate Symptoms and Adjust to Illness) intervention was designed to improve symptoms and quality of life by integrating palliative and psychosocial care into chronic care. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of CASA and identify necessary improvements. METHODS: We conducted a prospective mixed-methods pilot trial. The CASA intervention included (1) nurse phone visits involving structured symptom assessments and guidelines to alleviate breathlessness, fatigue, pain, or depression; (2) structured phone counseling targeting adjustment to illness and depression if present; and (3) weekly team meetings with a palliative care specialist, cardiologist, and primary care physician focused on medical recommendations to primary care providers (PCPs, physician or nurse practioners) to improve symptoms. Study subjects were outpatients with chronic HF from a Veteran's Affairs hospital (n = 15) and a university hospital (n = 2). Measurements included feasibility (cohort retention rate, medical recommendation implementation rate, missing data, quality of care) and acceptability (an end-of-study semi-structured participant interview). RESULTS: Participants were male with a median age of 63 years. One withdrew early and there were < 5% missing data. Overall, 85% of 87 collaborative care team medical recommendations were implemented. All participants who screened positive for depression were either treated for depression or thought to not have a depressive disorder. In the qualitative interviews, patients reported a positive experience and provided several constructive critiques. CONCLUSIONS: The CASA intervention was feasible based on participant enrollment, cohort retention, implementation of medical recommendations, minimal missing data, and acceptability. Several intervention changes were made based on participant feedback.

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