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Congest Heart Fail. 2007 May-Jun;13(3):149-57.

"I am not alone": the feasibility and acceptability of interactive voice response-facilitated telephone peer support among older adults with heart failure.

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Veterans Affairs Center for Practice Management & Outcomes Research, Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0170, USA.


Patient self-management is a critical determinant of heart failure (HF) outcomes, yet patients with HF are often frail and socially isolated, factors that may limit their ability to manage self-care and access clinic-based services. Mobilizing peer support among HF patients is a promising strategy to improve self-management support. In this pilot, the authors evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of an interactive voice response (IVR)-based platform to facilitate telephone peer support among older adults with HF. Participants completed a baseline survey, were offered a 3-hour training session in peer communication skills, and were paired with another patient who had HF. Participants were asked to contact their partner weekly using a toll-free IVR phone system that protected their anonymity and provided automated reminders if contacts were not made. Times and duration of participants' telephone contacts were monitored and recorded. After the 7-week intervention, participants completed surveys and brief face-to-face interviews. The authors found high levels of use and satisfaction and improvements in depressive symptoms among the 20 pilot study participants. An IVR peer-support intervention is feasible, is acceptable to patients, and may have positive effects on patients' HF social support and health outcomes, in conjunction with structured health system support, that warrant more rigorous evaluation in a randomized trial.

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