Symptoms, Nutrition, Pressure Ulcers, and Return to Community Among Older Women With Heart Failure at Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Pilot Study

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Mortality rate is high for older women with heart failure (HF) who are discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) after hospitalization, but little is known about their symptoms, nutritional factors, and pressure ulcer status and whether these variables predict the women’s return to the community.


The aims of this study are to characterize symptoms (ie, dyspnea, cognitive dysfunction, depression, and pain) and nutritional and pressure ulcer status, evaluate relationships among symptoms, and examine predictors of return to the community among older women with HF admitted to SNFs.


In this pilot observational study, data were collected retrospectively from the electronic medical records and the Minimum Data Set 3.0.


Data were obtained for 45 women with HF (mean age, 84.8 years). Frequency of symptoms was dyspnea 18%, cognitive dysfunction 20%, depression 5%, and pain 78%. Mean body mass index (BMI) was 29.8 kg/m2. Frequency of pressure ulcer risk was 85% and 18% had pressure ulcers. The 4 symptoms were not significantly related. Younger age (odds ratio, 0.90; P = .023) and BMI of 25 kg/m2 or greater (odds ratio, 5.31; P = .017) predicted return to the community.


The women in this study had frequent pain, moderately frequent cognitive dysfunction, and high pressure ulcer risk. Surprisingly, few women had dyspnea or depression. Women who were younger with higher BMI were more likely to return to the community. The study needs to be replicated in a larger more diverse group of older patients with HF.

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