Process evaluation of a randomised pilot trial of home-based rehabilitation compared to usual care in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and their caregiver’s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Karen M Smith
  • Chim C Lang
  • Jennifer Wingham
  • Julia Frost
  • Charles Abraham
  • Fiona C Warren
  • Joanne Coyle
  • Jackie Miles
  • Kevin Paul
  • Patrick Joseph Doherty
  • Russell Davies
  • Hasnain M Dalal
  • Rod S taylor


Background: Whilst heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) affects almost 50 percent of the HF population, evidence-based treatment options remain limited. However, there is growing evidence of the potential value of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation. This study reports the process evaluation of the Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH-HF) intervention for HFpEF patients and their caregivers conducted as part of the REACH-HFpEF pilot trial.

Methods: Process evaluation sub-study parallel to a single centre (Tayside, Scotland) randomised controlled pilot trial with qualitative assessment of both intervention fidelity delivery and HFpEF patients’ and caregivers’ experiences. The REACH-HF intervention consisted of self-help manual for patients and caregivers, facilitated over 12 weeks by trained healthcare professionals. Interviews were conducted following completion of intervention in a purposeful sample of 15 HFpEF patients and 7 caregivers.

Results: Qualitative information from the facilitator interactions and interviews identified three key themes for patients and caregivers: (1) understanding their condition, (2) emotional consequences of HF, and (3) patients’ and caregivers’ responses to the REACH-HF intervention. The differing professional backgrounds demonstrate the possibility of delivering REACH-HF by either existing HF or cardiac rehabilitation services of a combination of the two.

Conclusions: The REACH-HF home-based facilitated intervention for HFpEF appears feasible and well accepted model for delivery of a cardiac rehabilitation intervention, with the potential to address key unmet needs of patients and their caregivers who are often excluded from service provision and current CR programmes. Results of this study will inform a recently funded full multicentre randomised clinical trial.

Trial registration: ISRCTN78539530 (date registration 7th July 2015)


Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages11
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2021


  • Cardiac rehabilitation, Heart failure, Preserved ejection fraction, Home-based, Process evaluation, Caregivers