Integrative Medical Care Plus Mindfulness Training for Patients With Congestive Heart Failure: Proof of Concept

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Abstract

Congestive heart failure (CHF) has a high rate of morbidity and mortality. It is often accompanied by other medical and psychosocial comorbidities that complicate treatment and adherence. We conducted a proof of concept pilot project to determine the feasibility of providing integrative group medical visits plus mindfulness training for patients recently discharged with CHF. Patients were eligible if they had been discharged from an inpatient stay for CHF within the 12 months prior to the new program. The Compassionate Approach to Lifestyle and Mind-Body (CALM) Skills for Patients with CHF consisted of 8 weekly visits focusing on patient education about medications, diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management; group support; and training in mind-body skills such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and loving-kindness. Over two 8-week sessions, 8/11 (73%) patients completed at least 4 visits. The patients had an average age of 57 years. The most common comorbidities were weight gain, sleep problems, and fatigue. After the sessions, 100% of patients planned to make changes to their diet, exercise, and stress management practices. Over half of the patients who met with a pharmacist had a medication-related problem. Improvements were observed in depression, fatigue, and satisfaction with life. Integrative group visits focusing on healthy lifestyle, support, and skill-building are feasible even among CHF patients and should be evaluated in controlled trials as a patient-centered approach to improving outcomes related to improving medication management, depression, fatigue, and quality of life.

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