Descriptive study of partners' experiences of living with severe heart failure

Heart Lung. 2011 May-Jun;40(3):208-16. doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2010.12.007. Epub 2011 Mar 16.


Purpose: This qualitative study sought to describe the experiences of living with severe heart failure (HF) from the perspective of the partner.

Methods: In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 14 partners of individuals diagnosed with severe HF. Content analysis was performed to derive the main themes and subthemes of responses.

Results: Three main themes were derived from the data: (1) My Experience of HF in My Loved One, (2) Experience With Healthcare Providers, and the (3) Patient's Experience of HF as Perceived by the Partner.

Conclusion: The severity of the patient's disease limited the partner's lifestyle, resulting in social isolation and difficulties in planning for the future for both the patient and the partner. The partners were unprepared to manage the disease burden at home without consistent information and assistance by healthcare providers. Moreover, end-of-life planning was neither encouraged by healthcare providers nor embraced by patients or partners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Advance Directives / psychology
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Heart Failure / nursing*
  • Heart Failure / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Northwestern United States
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Sick Role
  • Social Isolation
  • Spouses / psychology*