Dionne-Odom study in JAMA looks at support for family caregivers

Discusses impact of telehealth palliative care intervention on caregiver quality of life Category: Sustainable Scholarship

Photo: Nick Dionne Odom By Erica Techo

There are more than 6.5 million people in the U.S. with heart failure, many of whom rely on the support of family caregivers to manage medication and devices, monitor symptoms and coordinate care for their family members. The stress that comes along with caregiving can cause physical and psychological distress and low quality of life for those working to help their loved ones.

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Assistant Professor J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, is first author on a recently published article reporting the results of a randomized clinical trial studying the effects of a telehealth early palliative care intervention for family caregivers.

The article was published in the April issue of JAMA Network Open, an international, peer-reviewed medical journal from the American Medical Association.

The trial included 158 family caregivers who underwent four weekly psychosocial and problem-solving support telephonic sessions as part of the ENABLE CHF-PC (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heart Failure for Patients and Caregivers) palliative care intervention.

More than half of the caregivers were African American, and most were not distressed at baseline. The trial found that caregivers did not have clinically better quality of life, mood or burden after the telehealth intervention.

“This was the largest and most racially diverse trial to date of an intervention for families of individuals with advanced heart failure,” Dionne-Odom said. “Big takeaways from this trial include the need to identify better ways to identify distressed family caregivers who would be more likely to benefit from robust support and to examine if our interventions with them positively affect the outcomes of the patients they care for.”

Read 397 times Last modified on May 20, 2020

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