Objective: Clinicians worldwide seek to educate and support heart failure patients to engage in self-care. We aimed to describe self-care behaviors of patients from 15 countries across three continents.
Methods: Data on self-care were pooled from 5964 heart failure patients from the United States, Europe, Australasia and South America. Data on self-care were collected with the Self-care of Heart Failure Index or the European Heart Failure Self-care Behavior Scale.
Results: In all the samples, most patients reported taking their medications as prescribed but exercise and weight monitoring were low. In 14 of the 22 samples, more than 50% of the patients reported low exercise levels. In 16 samples, less than half of the patients weighed themselves regularly, with large differences among the countries. Self-care with regard to receiving an annual flu shot and following a low sodium diet varied most across the countries.
Conclusion: Self-care behaviors are sub-optimal in heart failure patients and need to be improved worldwide.
Practice implications: Interventions that focus on specific self-care behaviors may be more effective than general educational programs. Changes in some health care systems and national policies are needed to support patients with heart failure to increase their self-care behavior.
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