- Chronic heart failure has been called the final common pathway of all heart diseases. It is a long-term illness, often associated with disability and characterized by life-threatening exacerbations, that results in multiple problems for patients and their families. This paper will provide a framework for nursing action designed to maximize the quality of life of chronic heart failure patients and their families. The approaches suggested by Strauss et al. (1984) and the principles of self-care as outlined by Levin, Katz and Holst (1979) provide the theoretical basis for the suggested nursing actions. A brief overview of the pathophysiology and current treatment of heart failure is also included.