Improving support for heart failure patients: a systematic review to understand patients' perspectives on self-care
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AIMS: This systematic review aimed to generate patient-focussed recommendations to enhance support of heart failure self-care by examining patients' experiences, perspectives and self-care behaviours. BACKGROUND: Despite increased recognition of the importance of heart failure self-care, patients' knowledge and practices around this self-care and interventions to improve it are inconsistent. Consequently, current guidelines focus on what the domains of heart failure self-care are, more so than the ways to improve this care. DESIGN: Systematic review and qualitative interpretive synthesis. DATA SOURCES: A systematic, comprehensive and detailed search of 11 databases was conducted until March, 2012 for papers published 1995-2012: 37 studies were included (1343 patients, 75 caregivers, 63 health care professionals) that contained a qualitative research component and data on adult patients' heart failure self-care. REVIEW METHODS: This interpretive synthesis used a recognized approach consisting of a multi-stage analytic process; in addition, the included studies underwent quality appraisal. RESULTS: Findings indicate that while patients could often recall health professionals' self-care advice, they were unable to integrate this knowledge into daily life. Attempts to manage HF were based on how patients 'felt' rather than clinical indicators of worsening symptoms. Self-efficacy and learning from past management experiences facilitated favourable outcomes - these enabled patients and caregivers to adeptly apply self-care strategies into daily activities. CONCLUSIONS: Addressing common but basic knowledge misconceptions regarding the domains of HF self-care is insufficient to increase effective HF self-care; this should be supplemented with strategies with patients and family members to promote self-efficacy, learning and adaptation/application of recommendations to daily life.
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