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Usability and Acceptability of a Palliative Care Mobile Intervention for Older Adults With Heart Failure and Caregivers: Observational Study



Background:

Heart failure is a leading cause of death among older adults. Digital health can increase access to and awareness of palliative care for patients with advanced heart failure and their caregivers. However, few palliative care digital interventions target heart failure or patients’ caregivers, family, and friends, termed here as the social convoy. To address this need, the Social Convoy Palliative Care (Convoy-Pal) mobile intervention was developed to deliver self-management tools and palliative care resources to older adults with advanced heart failure and their social convoys.


Objective:

The goal of the research was to test the acceptability and usability of Convoy-Pal among older adults with advanced heart failure and their social convoys.


Methods:

Convoy-Pal includes tablet-based and smartwatch tools facilitating self-management and access to palliative care resources. Older adults and social convoy caregivers completed an acceptability and usability interview via Zoom, including open-ended questions and the Mobile Application Rating Scale: User Version (uMARS). Descriptive analysis was conducted to summarize the results of open-ended feedback and self-reported acceptability and usability.


Results:

A total of 26 participants (16 older adults and 10 social convoy caregivers) participated in the interview. Overall, the feedback from users was good (uMARS mean 3.96/5 [SD 0.81]). Both older adults and social convoy caregivers scored information provided by Convoy-Pal the highest (mean 4.22 [SD 0.75] and mean 4.21 [SD 0.64], respectively). Aesthetics, functionality, and engagement were also perceived as acceptable (mean >3.5). Open-ended feedback resulted in 5 themes including improvements to goal setting, monitoring tools, daily check-in call feature, portal and mobile app, and convoy assessment.


Conclusions:

Convoy-Pal was perceived as acceptable with good usability among older adults with heart failure and their social convoy caregivers. With good acceptability, Convoy-Pal may ultimately lead to increased access to palliative care resources and facilitate self-management among older adults with heart failure and their social convoy caregivers.


Keywords:

Convoy-Pal; adult; aging; app; cardiology; digital health; heart; heart failure; mHealth; mobile; older adult; palliative care; smartwatch; symptom; tablet.



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