PCORI implementation projects promote the use of findings from PCORI-funded studies. This project focuses on implementing findings from the completed PCORI-funded research project: Does a Decision Aid Help Patients Learn about Their Treatment Options for Advanced Heart Failure?
This project is in progress.
What were the results from the original PCORI-funded research study?
Patients with advanced heart failure may need to make urgent decisions about how best to treat their illness. One option is a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, a device doctors place in the heart to help pump blood through the body. LVADs can help patients live longer, with 70% of patients with an LVAD still living two years after their treatment. Having an LVAD can make a patient’s symptoms better. But patients with LVADs must make lifestyle changes. LVADs also have risks, such as strokes and infections.
To help patients figure out if an LVAD is right for them, the research team created and tested a decision aid. Decision aids help patients choose between two or more healthcare options based on what is most important to them. Patients who used the decision aid knew more about LVADs than patients who didn’t. Compared with patients who didn’t use the decision aid, patients who did and chose an LVAD were more satisfied with their lives and said that life with the LVAD was closer to what they expected.
Why is this research finding important?
Having patients and doctors work together to decide on a treatment is especially important in cases like LVAD treatment as patients must often make decisions quickly while in the hospital.
What is the goal of this project?
In 10 hospitals across 9 states, the project team wants to make the decision aid part of standard care for patients who are candidates for an LVAD.
What is the project team doing?
This project has four parts:
- Training hospital staff who plan LVAD placements to use the decision aid as part of discussions with patients about their treatment options, goals, and preferences
- Helping hospital staff start using the decision aid as part of the care they provide
- Giving staff support and feedback on how they are using the decision aid with patients
- Creating a plan for hospital staff to use the decision aid long term
How is the team evaluating this project?
The project team is looking at how often staff offer the decision aid to patients who are eligible for an LVAD. The team is also looking at how many patients use it. Based on a 10-question checklist, the team is also looking at whether hospital staff are using the decision aid as intended.
The team is working with sites to collect information on patients’ satisfaction with their care. They also want to find out what patients know about LVADs and their quality of life after getting an LVAD. Finally, the team is talking to hospital staff to find out whether using the decision aid fits in well with their usual routines and if it changes how they provide care to patients who might need LVADs.
How is the team involving patients and others in making sure the findings reach people who can use them?
The team is working with patient advocacy groups such as the American Heart Association and medical groups such as the American College of Cardiology. Patients and hospital LVAD teams are advising the team on how to reach more patients. Patient partners on the team are helping with social media outreach to other patients.
*All proposed projects, including requested budgets and project periods, are approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract.