The Situation-Specific Theory of Heart Failure Self-Care: Revised and Updated


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Abstract

Background:Since the situation-specific theory of heart failure (HF) self-care was published in 2008, we have learned much about how and why patients with HF take care of themselves. This knowledge was used to revise and update the theory.Objective:The purpose of this article was to describe the revised, updated situation-specific theory of HF self-care.Result:Three major revisions were made to the existing theory: (1) a new theoretical concept reflecting the process of symptom perception was added; (2) each self-care process now involves both autonomous and consultative elements; and (3) a closer link between the self-care processes and the naturalistic decision-making process is described. In the revised theory, HF self-care is defined as a naturalistic decision-making process with person, problem, and environmental factors that influence the everyday decisions made by patients and the self-care actions taken. The first self-care process, maintenance, captures those behaviors typically referred to as treatment adherence. The second self-care process, symptom perception, involves body listening, monitoring signs, as well as recognition, interpretation, and labeling of symptoms. The third self-care process, management, is the response to symptoms when they occur. A total of 5 assumptions and 8 testable propositions are specified in this revised theory.Conclusion:Prior research illustrates that all 3 self-care processes (ie, maintenance, symptom perception, and management) are integral to self-care. Further research is greatly needed to identify how best to help patients become experts in HF self-care.

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