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Evaluating the provision of Further Enabling Care at Home (FECH+) for informal caregivers of older adults discharged home from hospital: protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial
  1. Anne-Marie Hill1,2,
  2. Rachael Moorin3,
  3. Susan Slatyer4,
  4. Christina Bryant5,
  5. Keith Hill6,
  6. Nicholas Waldron7,
  7. Samar Aoun8,9,
  8. Ami Kamdar10,
  9. Laurie Grealish11,12,
  10. Caroline Reberger13,
  11. Cindy Jones14,15,
  12. Mary Bronson16,
  13. Max K Bulsara17,
  14. Sean Maher13,
  15. Tracey Claverie11,
  16. Wendy Moyle12,14
  1. 1School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4Discipline of School of Nursing, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  5. 5Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Rehabilitation Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  7. 7Armadale Health Service, Armadale, Western Australia, Australia
  8. 8School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  9. 9Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  10. 10Department of General Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  11. 11Gold Coast Hospital and Health Services, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  12. 12School of Nursing and Midwifery Nathan and Gold Coast, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  13. 13Department of Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  14. 14Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  15. 15Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  16. 16Medical Division, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  17. 17Institute for Health Research, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anne-Marie Hill; Anne-Marie.Hill{at}


Introduction There are personal and societal benefits from caregiving; however, caregiving can jeopardise caregivers’ health. The Further Enabling Care at Home (FECH+) programme provides structured nurse support, through telephone outreach, to informal caregivers of older adults following discharge from acute hospital care to home. The trial aims to evaluate the efficacy of the FECH+ programme on caregivers’ health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after care recipients’ hospital discharge.

Methods and analysis A multisite, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial with blinded baseline and outcome assessment and intention-to-treat analysis, adhering to Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials guidelines will be conducted. Participants (N=925 dyads) comprising informal home caregiver (18 years or older) and care recipient (70 years or older) will be recruited when the care recipient is discharged from hospital. Caregivers of patients discharged from wards in three hospitals in Australia (one in Western Australia and two in Queensland) are eligible for inclusion. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of the two groups. The intervention group receive the FECH+ programme, which provides structured support and problem-solving for the caregiver after the care recipient’s discharge, in addition to usual care. The control group receives usual care. The programme is delivered by a registered nurse and comprises six 30–45 min telephone support sessions over 6 months. The primary outcome is caregivers’ HRQOL measured using the Assessment of Quality of Life—eight dimensions. Secondary outcomes include caregiver preparedness, strain and distress and use of healthcare services. Changes in HRQOL between groups will be compared using a mixed regression model that accounts for the correlation between repeated measurements.

Ethics and dissemination Participants will provide written informed consent. Ethics approvals have been obtained from Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Health Care Group, Curtin University, Griffith University, Gold Coast Health Service and government health data linkage services. Findings will be disseminated through presentations, peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

Trial registration number ACTRN12620000060943.

  • geriatric medicine
  • internal medicine
  • quality in health care

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  • Contributors A-MH and WM led manuscript drafting. A-MH is the lead investigator on the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia grant and all authors are named applicants on the grant. A-MH, WM, RM, KH, SS, CB, NW and SA contributed to trial design and will assist with monitoring trial procedure. A-MH leads the trial with support from WM, LG and AK. CB, SS, SA, KH, LG, WM and A-MH contribute to intervention design and delivery. MKB and A-MH lead the statistical analysis plan. AK and LG lead the management of the trial sites. MB, CR, SM, TC (WA) and CJ (QLD) contribute to trial procedure, including management at the sites. RM leads the economic analyses. All authors provided critical evaluation and approval of the final submitted manuscript.

  • Funding This work is supported by a grant awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia (grant number APP1157834). Additional funding to support the research has been provided by Curtin University. The funders have no role in the design of the study and will not have any role in its execution, data management, analysis and interpretation nor the decision to submit results for publication. Anne-Marie Hill is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) Career Development Award.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.