Determinants of Self-care Behaviors in Community-Dwelling Patients With Heart Failure

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Background and Research Objective:As the population ages, chronic conditions such as heart failure are becoming more prevalent. An important goal is to understand how patients with heart failure learn to manage the often debilitating disease symptoms. The research objective was to examine the determinants of general and therapeutic self-care behaviors among community-dwelling heart failure patients. Guided by Connelly's Model of Self-care in Chronic Illness, enabling and predisposing factors were evaluated using sociodemographic characteristics, functional ability, and psychological status. Self-care maintenance, self-efficacy, and self-care management characteristics were also evaluated.Participants and Methods:Using a cross-sectional design, a convenience sample of 65 ambulatory care patients were recruited. Data were collected through chart reviews and questionnaires.Results and Conclusions:Common self-care maintenance behaviors included taking medication as prescribed (95%), seeking physician guidance (80%), and following sodium dietary restrictions (70%). These behaviors were influenced by enabling characteristics such as psychological status (P = .030), ethnicity (P = .048), and comorbidity (P = .023). A unique finding was that self-care maintenance behaviors were significantly lower in aboriginal participants. The predisposing characteristic of self-efficacy influenced self-maintenance behaviors (P = .0002), overall self-care (P = .04) and number of hospital admissions (P < .0001). Higher overall self-care scores, measured by the summative Self-care Heart Failure Index score was correlated with fewer hospital admissions (P = .019).

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