Study Examines Heart Failure Care Protocol

Stressing the significant effect heart failure has on quality of life, a study published in Heart found that patients' and their families' lack of knowledge on their condition causes delays in seeking medical attention and an absence of a long-term care plan.

Stressing the significant effect heart failure (HF) has on quality of life, a study published in Heart found that patients’ and their families’ lack of knowledge on their condition causes delays in seeking medical attention and an absence of a long-term care plan.

To improve protocol and care involving HF patients, Alexander M. Clark, PhD, and researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, analyzed data from 49 studies outlining the qualities of effective HF self-care for patients and caregivers. The study explained how current management plans are often inconsistent.

From the data, investigators discovered essential criteria for effective self-care of HF, including “the capacity of patients to successfully integrate self-care practices with their preferred normal daily life patterns and recognize and respond to HF symptoms in a timely manner.”

Researchers also mentioned the importance of involving and informing family members of their daily regimens, which is not widely understood by patients and their families. This results in nearly 50% of Canadian seniors affected by HF being readmitted to the hospital within a year, according to a statement by the University of Alberta.

Clark, the study’s lead author and contributor, said while there has been great progress in treating HF patients, the study proved that reform is necessary to integrate healthcare professionals, pharmacists, family physicians, and primary care networks before patients reach the need for hospitalization.