Treatment regimens for cystic fibrosis (CF) continue to evolve and grow in complexity. Treatment regimen burden, and associated sequelae, are incompletely understood.
QI methods were used to investigate treatment burden of CF care, family and care team partnerships, and potential interventions to reduce burden.
Patients 6-24 years with CF and caregivers of patients 6-13 years were surveyed. Portions of validated tools and existing surveys measured burden and family-care team partnership. An automated report calculated treatment complexity. PDSA cycles tested survey administration during CF visits and run charts tracked progress. Interventions to reduce burden were tracked, and bidirectional assessments explored partnerships among patients, families and clinicians.
Over 6 months, 110 patients and 62 caregivers completed assessments. Caregivers reported lower burden/higher quality of life (74.0, range 22.2-100) than patients (66.5, range 16.7-100). The mean treatment complexity score was 17.2 (range 6-34). Treatment complexity and burden increased with patient age (p<0.05 and p<0.01 respectively). Lower lung function correlated with higher patient-reported burden (p<0.01) and higher treatment complexity (p<0.0001). As burden increased, providers more often performed select interventions (discussed combining treatments, simplified regimens, or involved other team members (p<0.05 for each)). Families reported high partnership (mean scores 4.7-4.8, 5=high), and providers reported high utilization of partnership tools (tool used in 77% of encounters).
We assessed, quantified, and responded to treatment burden and complexity in real-time during outpatient CF visits. Systematic and individualized assessments of treatment complexity and burden may enhance treatment adherence while preserving quality of life. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.