Lessons From the Field: Challenges in Accruing Hospice Heart Failure Patients to Intervention Research

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heart failure, hospice, intervention research

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Recent clinical practice guidelines suggest that hospice can be a valuable alternative for patients with advanced heart failure (HF). Unfortunately, there are very few evidence-based nursing interventions to guide symptom management for HF patients in hospice and their caregivers. Nevertheless, conducting clinical research in hospice populations remains fraught with methodological and ethical challenges. Our research team was not naive to the fact that hospice research is difficult. We believed that we had prepared well for a number of contingencies before the beginning of our clinical trial testing the feasibility of delivering a psychosocial intervention to caregivers of patients with HF. Despite the team expertise and well-defined recruitment strategies, the recruitment, both accrual and attrition, remained daunting in this population. The purpose of this article was to report the challenges of recruiting hospice patients with HF and caregivers for our randomized clinical trial, those we anticipated and those we did not.

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, v. 29, issue 1, p. 91-97