Spirituality in heart failure: a review of the literature from 2014 to 2019 to identify spiritual care needs and spiritual interventions


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThe burden of heart failure is significant and its management is complex. Current evidence confirms a high level of spiritual distress and a strong desire for spiritual support, which is endorsed by healthcare policy, yet spiritual support is rarely provided for this patient group. There is a need to identify how spiritual support might be meaningfully included within holistic heart failure multidisciplinary care and how its effectiveness might be demonstrated.Recent findingsA literature review was undertaken to identify recent evidence (2014–2019) of the spiritual care needs of heart failure patients/carers and the nature and effectiveness of spiritual interventions in heart failure care.SummaryTaken as a whole, studies exploring heart failure patients’/carers’ needs reflected the broad spectrum of spirituality as defined by international consensus, however, some studies focused on only some aspects of spirituality and on advanced disease. All studies were limited. No single spiritual intervention was identified as effective in enhancing quality of life in patients with heart failure. Life review and relaxation/meditation appeared ineffective. Interventions, which included elements of ‘talking’ about spiritual matters, ‘spiritual coping’ and those involving a holistic person-centred team approach to care of which spiritual care was an aspect, are worth investigating further in well designed randomized controlled trials.

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