Aims: People with heart failure have difficulty with self-care management. We do not know if patients with heart failure have difficulty with self-care management due to underlying, mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The purpose of this study was to determine whether MCI, as identified on a simple screening tool, is significantly associated with self-care management in a sample of community dwelling older patients with heart failure.
Methods and results: Using a cross-sectional design, heart failure patients (n=100, mean age 72 SD 10 years) attending an outpatient heart failure clinic completed the Montreal Cognitive Assessment tool (MoCA), Self-Care in Heart Failure Index (SCHFI) and Geriatric Depression Scale. The presence of MCI, as defined by a MoCA score <26, was present in 73% patients; 21% had an adequate self-care management SCHFI score; and 12% reported symptoms of depression. Participants with a MoCA score <26 vs. ≥ 26 scored significantly lower on the self-care management subscale of the SCHFI (48.1 SD 24 vs. 59.3 SD 22 respectively, p=0.035). Using backward regression, the final model was fitted to self-care management while controlling for age and sex and was significant, with (F= 7.04 df (3, 96), and p<0.001), accounting for 18% of the total variance in self-care management (R (2) = 18.03%). The MoCA score was the only variable which remained in the model significantly with p= 0.001.
Conclusion: Findings from this study highlight the difficulty older heart failure patients have with self-care management and the need to include formal screening for MCI when exploring variables contributing to self-care management in heart failure patients.
Keywords: Self-care management; cognitive function; heart failure.