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Clinical Trial Summary

The PAUSE Trial is a pragmatic, randomized clinical trial for Veterans scheduled for elective surgery at 3 large VA facilities (Palo Alto, Houston, and Nashville). The PAUSE Trial focuses on cooperation between providers of various disciplines in order to provide better care. Veterans identified as frail upon standardized will be referred to a multidisciplinary "PAUSE Board" comprised of members from surgery, anesthesia, geriatrics, palliative care, case management, rehabilitation, and nutrition. Diverse specialists will come together in a team environment to discuss care options, scientific evidence, and patient goals and expectations, creating individual patient recommendations. The investigators hypothesize that the PAUSE Board model will improve quality and outcomes by promoting guidelines and evidence-based care recommendations as well as constructive team-based discussions to align care with patient goals and expectations.


Clinical Trial Description

Background: Frailty is a syndrome of reduced physiologic reserve associated with higher postoperative mortality and adverse outcomes. The investigators' preliminary work shows that institution-wide frailty screening and introducing a "pre-surgical pause" reduces 6-month mortality threefold. However, a knowledge gap exists in the nature of the intervention and which stakeholders should be involved in the "pre-surgical pause". Multidisciplinary care models for complex patients are highly effective in oncology, wound care and primary care. The investigators propose a new care delivery model, i.e. PAtient-centered mUltidiSciplinary care for vEterans undergoing surgery (PAUSE), where experts from diverse fields contribute to surgical decision-making and optimize outcomes for high-risk Veterans. Impact: Veterans above 65 years-of-age are a fast-growing population with significant need for high-quality surgical care. This study builds a structured multidisciplinary workflow to improve clinical and quality outcomes and provides high-value care for frail and high-risk Veterans that aligns with VA priorities and patient goals and expectations. Innovation: This is the first study in the VA to implement a multidisciplinary care model for surgical care. The intervention employs an innovative hybrid-1 clinical effectiveness-implementation design to evaluate novel Veteran-centric outcomes of 30- and 180-day mortality, non-home discharge, rehospitalizations and home-time. A detailed formative evaluation (FE) evaluates provider and system factors that impact PAUSE intervention uptake. Further, the study has support from three national operational partners: National Surgery Office, Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care, and Palliative Care and Hospice Program. Specific Aims: The goals for this project are to: (1) test the effectiveness of the PAUSE trial intervention vs usual care in improving 30- and 180-day mortality, non-home discharge, rehospitalizations and home-time for patients undergoing surgical evaluation; (2) test moderators of the PAUSE intervention effectiveness (treatment effect heterogeneity), especially specialty, frailty severity and risk status; and (3) use a mixed-method FE to understand the factors that influence fidelity, adaptation, and implementation of the PAUSE intervention. The investigators hypothesize that the PAUSE intervention will decrease 30- and 180-day mortality, rehospitalizations, and non-home discharge and increase home-time for all Veterans (Aim 1). The effect size for the outcomes will be greater for frail patients in certain specialties (Aim 2). The concurrent FE will highlight key barriers/facilitators for future implementation (Aim 3). Methodology: The PAUSE trial is a pragmatic, stepped-wedge randomized clinical trial designed to capture a cohort of 25,000 Veterans scheduled for elective surgery at 3 large tertiary care VAMCs (Palo Alto, Houston and Nashville) and 7 specialty groups in each center: general, vascular, orthopedics, cardio-thoracic, urology, neurosurgery and others (e.g., plastics and ENT). The intervention includes standardized frailty screening and referral to a "multidisciplinary PAUSE Board" (surgery, anesthesia, geriatrics, palliative care, case management, rehabilitation and nutrition) for recommendations. Each 'step' is a randomly chosen specialty transitioning from usual care to the PAUSE intervention. Outcomes include 30- and 180-day mortality, non-home discharge, rehospitalizations and home-time. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research is used to guide FE and analysis of factors that influence implementation. The study spans across 4-years for pre-intervention FE (Y1), PAUSE intervention (Y1-3), post-intervention FE (Y3) and analysis (Y4). ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT05037292
Study type Interventional
Source VA Office of Research and Development
Contact Ashley Langston, MS MA
Phone (605) 493-5000
Email [email protected]
Status Not yet recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date November 1, 2021
Completion date April 30, 2025

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