Investigating self-care in a sample of patients with decompensated heart failure: A cross-sectional study

Investigating self-care in a sample of patients with decompensated heart failure: A cross-sectional study



There is scarce evidence relating to self-care of heart failure (HF) in Spain. In particular, there is a need to establish patients' level of understanding of HF, as well as their ability to recognise signs and symptoms of decompensation.

Patients and methods

Cross-sectional study to determine the level of self-care in a population of Spanish patients admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of decompensated HF. A convenience sample of 108 patients (50 women and 58 men) aged 83±8 were recruited to participate in this study.


The Self-Care of Heart Failure Index version 6.2 was used to quantify self-care in our sample. Mean and standard deviation from the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index self-care maintenance subscale were: a) "exercise for 30 minutes", 1±1; b) "forget to take one of your medicines", 2±2; c) "ask for low-salt items when eating out or visiting others", 2±1. A percentage of 67.6 had experienced shortness of breath or ankle swelling in the past month. However, the vast majority of our patients were unlikely to independently implement a remedy: a) reduce salt, 2±1; b) reduce fluid intake, 1±1; c) take an extra diuretic, 1±1. Over 50% of our sample felt confident or very confident at following professional advice (3±1), keeping themselves free of symptoms (3±1), recognizing changes in their condition (3±1) and evaluating the significance of such changes (3±1).


HF patients have a significantly low level of self-care when compared with HF patients from other countries, especially when it comes to managing their condition. Self-care promotion should be a priority for all healthcare professionals involved in the care and management of HF patients.


Autocuidado; Autogestión; Comorbidities; Comorbilidades; Descompensación cardiaca; Heart decompensation; Heart failure; Insuficiencia cardiaca; Self care; Self management.


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