Factors Affecting Nurses’ Intent to Assess for Depression in Heart Failure Patients


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Abstract

The association between depression and cardiovascular disease has been well established and has been shown to decrease patients’ quality of life and increase the risk of mortality, frequency and duration of hospitalization, and health care costs. The inpatient setting provides a potentially valuable opportunity to assess and treat depression among patients with acute cardiac illness, allowing for daily monitoring of treatment side effects. Although systematic depression screening appears to be feasible, efficient, and well accepted on inpatient cardiac units, the current lack of consistent inpatient assessment for depression in heart failure patients suggests the presence of barriers influencing the effective diagnosis and treatment of depression among inpatients with heart failure. The theory of planned behavior describes the cognitive mechanism by which behavioral intent is formed, giving some insight into how nurses’ attitudes and beliefs affect their performance of routine depression screening. In addition, application of this cognitive theory suggests that nurses may be influenced to adopt more positive attitudes and beliefs about depression through educational intervention, leading to greater likelihood of routine assessment for depression, ultimately leading to more timely diagnosis and treatment and improved patient outcomes.

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