DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.18787 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 18787: Rural Intervention for Caregivers’ Heart Health: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Debra K Moser, JungHee Kang, MinKyoung Song, Misook L Chung
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Background: Informal caregivers are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than non-caregivers. This risk is higher for older caregivers who often have chronic illnesses, especially those living in a rural environment. Yet caregivers, particularly rural caregivers, are usually “hidden patients” in a caregiver-patient dyad as they commonly ignore their own health. We developed a CVD-risk reduction intervention (RICHH) that promoted self-care in the context of the demands of caregiving. Our aims were to test the impact of RICHH on adherence to CVD risk reduction behaviors and to determine whether age moderated intervention effects on outcomes.

Methods: Rural informal caregivers (N=311; 76% female, age=55±14 years) at CVD risk were randomized to intervention or usual care groups. The intervention group completed a 12-week self-care intervention using video conferencing. Outcomes were assessed at 4 and 12 months. Adherence to CVD risk reduction behaviors and adherence to healthy diet was assessed using the Medical Outcome Scale-CVD Specific Adherence Scale and the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI). Piecewise linear mixed-effect modeling determined intervention effects and age moderation.

Results: Compared to the usual care group, adherence to CVD risk reduction behaviors increased in intervention at 4 months (b = 2.02, p < 0.001), and the improvement was maintained at 12 months (b = 4.17, p < 0.001; Figure). Total diet quality was improved in intervention versus control at 4-months (b = 0.95, p < 0.001) and was maintained at 12 months (b = 3.05, p = 0.024). Consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains increased in intervention, while intake of sugar and saturated fats decreased. Age did not moderate intervention effects.

Conclusion: The intervention was effective in improving adherence to CVD risk reduction behaviors, including heart-healthy eating, regardless of caregiver age, showing its effectiveness for all ages of caregivers.

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