Self-care in women with heart failure and the effectiveness of nurse-led educational interventions: a review of the literature

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Abstract

Self-care in women with heart failure and the effectiveness of nurse-led educational interventions: a review of the literature

Aims and objectives.

The purpose of this review of the literature is to evaluate the research on self-care behaviours of women heart failure patients and whether self-care is improved by the patient’s knowledge of the disease, symptoms and treatments. Second, to determine whether nurse-led educational interventions influence self-care behaviours in women.

Background.

In the past, clinical research has sampled mostly white, male populations, and the results have been generalised to the population. Less is known about self-care behaviours in women with heart failure constituting a gender disparity in knowledge for effective management.

Design.

Review of the literature.

Methods.

A search of the English language literature was conducted using CINAHL, Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane and PubMed databases and supplemented by a hand search of relevant reference lists from 1998 through 2010.

Results.

Potentially relevant articles were identified (n = 56) by the literature search. A total of 33 articles were excluded because of lack of explanation of gender differences or non-nurse-led educational interventions; 23 original studies were included in the review.

Conclusions.

There was inadequate research to determine whether nurse-led education improves self-care behaviours in women; however, the evidence shows that many women exhibit poor self-care practices. There is a need for nurse researchers to address this deficit.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Heart failure symptoms seriously impinge on a woman’s ability to live her life, as she would like, regardless of her country of abode. Understanding women’s knowledge deficits about heart failure and their self-care behaviours nationally and internationally will aid in developing appropriate nurse-led interventions to increase adherence to proven efficacious regimens, thus improving quality of life and decreasing the morbidity and mortality of women diagnosed with heart failure.

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