Document Type


Publication Date



School of Nursing


Family/Community Health



Heart failure (HF) afflicts 6.5 million Americans with devastating consequences to patients and their family caregivers. Families are rarely prepared for worsening HF and are not informed about end-of-life and palliative care (EOLPC) conservative comfort options especially during the end stage. West Virginia (WV) has the highest rate of HF deaths in the U.S. where 14% of the population over 65 years have HF. Thus, there is a need to investigate a new family EOLPC intervention (FamPALcare), where nurses coach family-managed advanced HF care at home.


This study uses a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design stratified by gender to determine any differences in the FamPALcare HF patients and their family caregiver outcomes versus standard care group outcomes (N = 72). Aim 1 is to test the FamPALcare nursing care intervention with patients and family members managing home supportive EOLPC for advanced HF. Aim 2 is to assess implementation of the FamPALcare intervention and research procedures for subsequent clinical trials. Intervention group will receive routine standard care, plus 5-weekly FamPALcare intervention delivered by community-based nurses. The intervention sessions involve coaching patients and family caregivers in advanced HF home care and supporting EOLPC discussions based on patients’ preferences. Data are collected at baseline, 3, and 6 months. Recruitment is from sites affiliated with a large regional hospital in WV and community centers across the state.


The outcomes of this clinical trial will result in new knowledge on coaching techniques for EOLPC and approaches to palliative and end-of-life rural home care. The HF population in WV will benefit from a reduction in suffering from the most common advanced HF symptoms, selecting their preferred EOLPC care options, determining their advance directives, and increasing skills and resources for advanced HF home care. The study will provide a long-term collaboration with rural community leaders, and collection of data on the implementation and research procedures for a subsequent large multi-site clinical trial of the FamPALcare intervention. Multidisciplinary students have opportunity to engage in the research process.

Trial registration NCT04153890, Registered on 4 November 2019

Source Citation

Piamjariyakul, U., Petitte, T., Smothers, A. et al. Study protocol of coaching end-of-life palliative care for advanced heart failure patients and their family caregivers in rural appalachia: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Palliat Care 18, 119 (2019).


Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.



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