Heart 100:716-721 doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2013-304852
  • Systematic review

Determinants of effective heart failure self-care: a systematic review of patients’ and caregivers’ perceptions

Editor's Choice
  1. Kay Currie4
  1. 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  2. 2School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
  3. 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
  4. 4School of Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alexander M Clark, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, 11405-87 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 1C9; alex.clark{at}
  • Received 26 August 2013
  • Revised 7 January 2014
  • Accepted 17 January 2014
  • Published Online First 18 February 2014


Context Disease management interventions for heart failure (HF) are inconsistent and very seldom incorporate the views and needs of patients and their caregivers into intervention design.

Objective and data To improve intervention effectiveness and consistency, a systematic review identified 49 studies which examined the views and needs of patients with HF and their caregivers about the nature and determinants of effective HF self-care.

Results The findings identify key drivers of effective self-care, such as the capacity of patients to successfully integrate self-care practices with their preferred normal daily life patterns and recognise and respond to HF symptoms in a timely manner.

Conclusions Future interventions for HF self-care must involve family members throughout the intervention and harness patients’ normal daily routines.