Heart Failure Management in Nursing Homes: A Scoping Literature Review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Heart failure (HF) affects 20% of nursing home (NH) residents, causing high morbidity and mortality. The optimal approach to HF management in NHs remains elusive. We conducted a scoping review of published guidelines and HF management interventions in NHs. A search for English publications since 1990 was conducted using PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Scopus, for scientific statements, guidelines, recommendations, or intervention studies that addressed at least 1 principle of HF management. Of 2545 records retrieved, 19 articles were retained after screening, and 2 additional articles identified through reference list manual searches. Six articles represented 5 guidelines and 15 described interventions. All guidelines endorsed the applicability of general HF guidelines to NH residents, tailored to comorbidities, frailty, and advance care preferences. Four addressed quality assurance but not feasibility and sustainability. Methodological quality of the interventions was poor, although results suggest that guideline-based HF management in NHs can improve nursing staff knowledge and job satisfaction, prescribing, and reduce acute care utilization. Clinically-based education for staff, and access to specialist mentorship are important. NH physician involvement was limited, and resident/family education potentially ineffective. Concerns about feasibility, sustainability, and quality assurance were identified in most interventions, and advance care planning was rarely addressed. HF guidelines for NH support the applicability of general HF guidelines to the care of NH residents, and published interventions suggest that guideline-based HF management in NHs is effective. Future work should support greater physician and resident engagement, advance care planning, and provide robust guidelines on developing feasible and sustainable interventions.


  • Heckman, George
  • Shamji, Alyana Karim
  • Ladha, Raisa
  • Stapleton, Jackie
  • Boscart, Veronique
  • Boxer, Rebecca S
  • Martin, Lora Bruyn
  • Crutchlow, Lauren
  • McKelvie, Robert

publication date

  • July 2018