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Effect of patient activation on self-management in patients with heart failure

Martha J Shively, Nancy J Gardetto, Mary F Kodiath, Ann Kelly, Tom L Smith, Carl Stepnowsky, Charles Maynard, Carolyn B Larson
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 2013, 28 (1): 20-34

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Few studies have examined whether chronic heart failure (HF) outcomes can be improved by increasing patient engagement (known as activation) in care and capabilities for self-care management. The objective was to determine the efficacy of a patient activation intervention compared with usual care on activation, self-care management, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits in patients with HF.

METHODS: This study used a randomized, 2-group, repeated-measures design. After consent was given, 84 participants were stratified by activation level and randomly assigned to usual care (n = 41) or usual care plus the intervention (n = 43). The primary outcomes and measures were patient activation using the Patient Activation Measure (PAM), self-management using the Self-Care of Heart Failure Index (SCHFI) and the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Specific Adherence Scale, and hospitalizations and emergency department visits. The intervention was a 6-month program to increase activation and improve HF self-management behaviors, such as adhering to medications and implementing health behavior goals.

RESULTS: Participants were primarily male (99%), were white (77%), and had New York Heart Association III stage (52%). The mean (SD) age was 66 (11) years, and 71% reported 3 or more comorbidities. The intervention group compared with the usual care group showed a significant increase in activation/PAM scores from baseline to 6 months. No significant group-by-time interactions were found for the SCHFI scales. Although the baseline MOS Specific Adherence Scale mean was lower in the intervention group, results showed a significant group-by-time effect with the intervention group improving more over time. Participants in the intervention group had fewer hospitalizations compared with the usual care group when the baseline activation/PAM level was low or high.

CONCLUSION: This study supports the importance of targeted interventions to improve patient activation or engagement in HF care. Further work is needed related to HF self-management measurement and outcomes.


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