Adapting Heart Failure Guidelines for Nursing Care in Home Health Settings: Challenges and Solutions

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Nurses provide most of home health services for patients with heart failure, and yet there are no evidence-based practice guidelines developed for home health nurses.


The purpose of this article was to review the challenges and solutions for adapting generally available HF clinical practice guidelines to home health nursing.


Appropriate HF guidelines were identified and home health nursing-relevant guidelines were extracted by the research team. In addition, a team of nursing academic and practice experts evaluated the extracted guidelines and reached consensus through Delphi rounds.


We identified 172 recommendations relevant to home health nursing from the American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America guidelines. The recommendations were divided into 5 groups (generic, minority populations, normal ejection fraction, reduced ejection fraction, and comorbidities) and further subgroups. Experts agreed that 87% of the recommendations selected by the research team were relevant to home health nursing and rejected 6% of the selected recommendations. Experts’ opinions were split on 7% of guideline recommendations. Experts mostly disagreed on recommendations related to HF medication and laboratory prescription as well as HF patient assessment. These disagreements were due to lack of patient information available to home health nurses as well as unclear understanding of scope of practice regulations for home health nursing. After 2 Delphi rounds over 8 months, we achieved 100% agreement on the recommendations. The finalized guideline included 153 recommendations.


Guideline adaptation projects should include a broad scope of nursing practice recommendations from which home health agencies can customize relevant recommendations in accordance with available information and state and agency regulations.

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