Strengths-building through life purpose, self-care goal setting and social support: Study protocol for Caregiver Support

Publication Name

Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications


Background: For caregivers of people with heart failure, addressing a range of care recipient needs at home can potentially be burdensome, but caregivers may also gain meaning from caregiving. The Caregiver Support Program, a multicomponent strengths-based intervention, is designed to improve outcomes of heart failure caregivers. Objectives: 1) Test the feasibility and gauge an initial effect size of the Caregiver Support Program to improve caregiver quality of life (primary outcome), and fatigue and burden (secondary outcomes) from baseline to 16 weeks, 2) test whether fatigue and caregiver burden are associated with objective measures of resilience (sweat inflammatory cytokines (Il-6 and IL-10) and self-reported resilience, 3) evaluate changes in heart rate variability, IL-6 and IL-10, pre- and post-intervention. Methods: This is a single-blind, two group, waitlist control trial. Eligible caregivers are 1) ≥ 18 years, 2) English speaking, 3) live with the person with heart failure or visit them at least 3 days per week to provide care, 4) provide support for at least 1 instrumental activity of daily living (IADL), 5) live within a 1 h driving radius of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and 6) the care-recipient has been hospitalized within the last 6 months. Trial participants are randomized into the immediate intervention (n = 24) or waitlist control group (n = 24). Data collection is at baseline, 16 weeks, and 32 weeks. Conclusion: The Caregiver Support program has the potential to increase quality of life and decrease fatigue and caregiver burden for caregivers of people with heart failure and multiple co-morbidities.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access



Article Number


Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Institute of Nursing Research



Link to publisher version (DOI)