AHA: Heart Failure Patients, Carers Report Unmet Needs

Palliative care techniques from experienced nurse could address needs during heart failure
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care interventions offer a method of addressing unmet needs of patients with heart failure and their caregivers, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Conference, held from April 23 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

David Bekelman, M.D., of the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues conducted semi-structured interviews with 33 outpatients with symptomatic heart failure (mostly New York Heart Association class II and III) and 20 family caregivers. Researchers evaluated distressing factors related to the illness, helpful services, and perceptions of unmet needs.

The researchers found that participants stressed the need for anticipatory guidance, alleviation of symptoms, and communication and collaboration. Although caregivers often wanted to know more about the trajectory of the illness, patients typically had less interest in this information, particularly if they'd had heart failure for several years. Many subjects thought an experienced nurse could address their core needs, the authors note.

"Core unmet care needs described by heart failure outpatients and their family caregivers are amenable to palliative care intervention. Such an intervention would ideally involve a cardiac nurse trained in several palliative care components who meets regularly with a multidisciplinary palliative care team," the researchers write.


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