Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  July 2021  >  July 21, 2021  >  Caring for someone with heart failure: Creighton study investigates innovative solutions
Caring for someone with heart failure: Creighton study investigates innovative solutions

The training and education of “care partners,” the formal term used to describe the unpaid friends and family members who care for heart failure patients, will be the focus of a feasibility study this summer at Creighton University.

Lori RuschCollege of Nursing faculty member Lori Rusch, PhD, RN, serves as the primary investigator with co-investigators and nursing faculty colleagues Amy Cosimano, EdD, RN, NBC-HWC, and Beth Flott, EdD, RN.

The three-member team will study “The Heart Health Co-Pilot Program,” a program that provides heart failure patients and their care partners with an app that allows them to record and monitor heart-health behaviors such as medication adherence and to obtain daily weights.

“Exploring the feasibility of using this technology and its potential positive impact on patient outcomes, reducing emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and increased quality of life in the patient and the care partner are essential for heart failure disease management,” Rusch says.

The number of care partners is growing, Rusch says, and they are taking on increasing responsibilities. Nevertheless, she says, few studies have uncovered effective ways to incorporate unpaid friends and family members into a patient’s disease management protocol.

Interprofessional students will work collaboratively with the researchers to provide both patients and their care partners with training, health coaching and goal-setting related to healthy self-care behavior.

Information gleaned from the study will support a larger trial that will determine the impact of the app and health coaching on overall patient health, including frequency of emergency department visits and hospitalizations. “Heart failure continues to be a significant chronic disease that impacts millions of adults and poses financial challenges for the patient, care partners, and the entire health care system,” Rusch says.

“Finding innovative solutions to support this population is imperative.”

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