Caregiver Support in the Context of Multiple Chronic Conditions

  • End date
    May 2, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Johns Hopkins University
Updated on 2 August 2021


This research is being done to learn whether services to the caregiver to provide emotional, instrumental and social support can improve quality of life and other outcomes. The Caregiver-Support program provides services that are not usually available to caregivers of persons with heart failure and other chronic conditions.


Family caregivers who care for older adults living with multiple chronic conditions, including heart failure (HF), provide substantial cost savings to the US healthcare system. While caregiving can be meaningful and rewarding, extensive research also demonstrates high rates of chronic disease, fatigue and physiologic measures such as stress hormones among caregivers. Family caregivers are often left juggling caregivers' loved one's healthcare as well as caregivers' own. Unmet needs have been identified including increased stress, financial strain and social isolation, but interventions to address these needs in HF caregivers have had mixed results. Due to the limited impact of many caregiver interventions, experts have called for a greater understanding of the dynamic and contextual factors of family caregiving including resources, needs and social support with an increased focus on individualization of interventions for high-risk caregivers to improve outcomes.Following a mixed methods study to better understand these contextual factors and to address this gap between the evidence and uptake of proven strategies by caregivers, the study team has developed a resilience-promoting intervention to improve quality of life for family caregivers of individuals with multiple chronic conditions, including HF, Caregiver-Support. Caregiver-Support will help caregivers articulate statements of purpose in life, set goals to address fatigue and caregiver burden, provide instrumental support through a benefits check up and promote identification and increased connection with the caregiver's social network.

The first phase of the study will be an open label pilot (N=5) followed by a single-masked, two-group, randomized trial (N=40) to test the feasibility and gauge an initial effect size of the intervention. Participants will be visited by study staff in participants' homes for all data collection and intervention visits. Participants will be randomized to receive either the immediate intervention group or the waitlist control group. In the waitlist control group, participants will receive usual care for the first 16 weeks (which is limited to printed materials provided in the clinic) and then begin the intervention.

The intervention will consist of 5 in-home sessions with a nurse interventionist. Each participant will receive each intervention component but interventionists will systematically tailor content to the participants' goals based on protocols. All participants will be reassessed at 16 weeks (in person) and 32 weeks (by phone) by a research assistant (RA) masked to treatment condition. The primary outcome will be improvement in quality of life between baseline and 16 weeks. Other endpoints include group differences in fatigue, caregiver burden, self-reported and physiological measures of resilience up through 32 weeks after the intervention. The investigators will also examine the acceptability of the intervention using intervention compliance and participant satisfaction data.

Condition Caregiver Burnout
Treatment Caregiver-Support
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04090749
SponsorJohns Hopkins University
Last Modified on2 August 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Primary family caregivers, will be identified by patients and providers in the Bridge Clinic
must live with the patient or visit at least 3 times per week for the purposes of care provision
provide support for at least one Instrumental Activity of Daily Living
Be able to speak English

Exclusion Criteria

Caregivers with terminal diagnosis will be excluded as goal-setting at end of life may be different than without a terminal diagnosis
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