Patterns of Self-care in Adults With Heart Failure and Their Associations With Sociodemographic and Clinical Characteristics, Quality of Life, and Hospitalizations: A Cluster Analysis

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Abstract

Background:

Self-care is important in heart failure (HF) treatment, but patients may have difficulties and be inconsistent in its performance. Inconsistencies in self-care behaviors may mirror patterns of self-care in HF patients that are worth identifying to provide interventions tailored to patients.

Objectives:

The aims of this study are to identify clusters of HF patients in relation to self-care behaviors and to examine and compare the profile of each HF patient cluster considering the patient’s sociodemographics, clinical variables, quality of life, and hospitalizations.

Methods:

This was a secondary analysis of data from a cross-sectional study in which we enrolled 1192 HF patients across Italy. A cluster analysis was used to identify clusters of patients based on the European Heart Failure Self-care Behaviour Scale factor scores. Analysis of variance and χ2 test were used to examine the characteristics of each cluster.

Results:

Patients were 72.4 years old on average, and 58% were men. Four clusters of patients were identified: (1) high consistent adherence with high consulting behaviors, characterized by younger patients, with higher formal education and higher income, less clinically compromised, with the best physical and mental quality of life (QOL) and lowest hospitalization rates; (2) low consistent adherence with low consulting behaviors, characterized mainly by male patients, with lower formal education and lowest income, more clinically compromised, and worse mental QOL; (3) inconsistent adherence with low consulting behaviors, characterized by patients who were less likely to have a caregiver, with the longest illness duration, the highest number of prescribed medications, and the best mental QOL; (4) and inconsistent adherence with high consulting behaviors, characterized by patients who were mostly female, with lower formal education, worst cognitive impairment, worst physical and mental QOL, and higher hospitalization rates.

Conclusion:

The 4 clusters identified in this study and their associated characteristics could be used to tailor interventions aimed at improving self-care behaviors in HF patients.

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