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Palliative Telecare: A Game-Changer for COPD, HF, and ILD Patients

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Clinical trial shows telecare can improve life for COPD, HF, and ILD patients

In a clinical trial, researchers explored whether a telecare intervention involving nurses and social workers could enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure (HF), and interstitial lung disease (ILD). These conditions often lead to poor quality of life despite conventional treatments, prompting the need for palliative care approaches to improve patient well-being.

Clinical Trial

The trial involved 306 participants with COPD, HF, or ILD who were at high risk of hospitalization or death and reported poor quality of life. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive the telecare intervention or usual care. The telecare intervention consisted of 6 phone calls with a nurse to manage symptoms and 6 phone calls with a social worker to provide psychosocial support. The intervention team collaborated closely with primary care and palliative care physicians, and as needed, with specialists like pulmonologists and cardiologists. Usual care involved receiving an educational handout on self-care for their condition and accessing care from their healthcare providers as usual.

Results

At the end of 6 months, participants who received the telecare intervention showed significant improvements in their quality of life compared to those who received usual care. The improvement was measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–General (FACT-G) scale, with a difference of 4.6 points between the two groups. This improvement was considered clinically meaningful, indicating a tangible enhancement in how participants felt about their overall well-being.

Moreover, participants in the telecare group also experienced better disease-specific health status for COPD and HF, as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. These findings suggest that the telecare intervention not only addressed the physical symptoms but also contributed to the emotional and psychological well-being of the participants.

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Implications

The results of this trial highlight the potential benefits of integrating telecare interventions, involving nurses and social workers, into the care of patients with COPD, HF, or ILD. By providing personalized support and regular monitoring, telecare teams can help patients manage their symptoms more effectively, leading to improved quality of life and overall well-being.

The findings also emphasize the importance of palliative care approaches in addressing the needs of patients with chronic and debilitating conditions. Palliative care focuses on enhancing the quality of life for patients and their families by addressing physical, emotional, and psychosocial aspects of care, especially for those with life-limiting illnesses.

Conclusion

For adults with COPD, HF, or ILD who are at high risk of hospitalization or death and experience poor quality of life, a telecare intervention involving nurses and social workers has demonstrated significant benefits. By providing tailored support and addressing both physical and emotional needs, telecare teams can make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients living with these chronic conditions. This trial underscores the importance of integrating palliative care approaches into the management of chronic illnesses to improve patient outcomes and well-being.

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JAMA Network, Jan-16-24
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02713347
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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.