Impact of COVID-19 on Heart Failure Self-Care: A Qualitative Study

J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2021 Nov-Dec 01;36(6):609-617. doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000794.


Background: Difficulties in coping with and self-managing heart failure (HF) are well known. The COVID-19 pandemic may further complicate self-care practices associated with HF.

Objective: The aim of this study was to understand COVID-19's impact on HF self-care, as well as related coping adaptations that may blunt the impact of COVID-19 on HF health outcomes.

Methods: A qualitative study using phone interviews, guided by the framework of vulnerability analysis for sustainability, was used to explore HF self-care among older adults in central Texas during the late spring of 2020. Qualitative data were analyzed using directed content analysis.

Results: Seventeen older adults with HF participated (mean [SD] age, 68 [9.1] years; 62% female, 68% White, 40% below poverty line, 35% from rural areas). Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the HF self-care behavior of physical activity. Themes of social isolation, financial concerns, and disruptions in access to medications and food indicated exposure, and rural residence and source of income increased sensitivity, whereas adaptations by healthcare system, health-promoting activities, socializing via technology, and spiritual connections increased resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusions: The study's findings have implications for identifying vulnerabilities in sustaining HF self-care by older adults and empowering older adults with coping strategies to improve overall satisfaction with care and quality of life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Quality of Life
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Self Care