Examining the emotional and psychological experiences of people with heart failure

Gerwyn Mahoney-Davies, Cara Davis, Catriona Glen, Catherine Clifton, Paul M Salkovskis

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Aims and objectives:
The aims of this study were to understand the emotional and psychological experiences of patients with heart failure in a busy NHS service and make recommendations for how best to support this population.

People with heart failure often experience depression, anxiety and other emotional and psychological difficulties. Their quality of life is reduced. Qualitative studies attempting to understand this have reported conflicting findings.

A qualitative approach was taken, with some supporting quantitative data.

Ten participants were asked to complete the PHQ–9 and GAD–7, and rate their level of concern about their mood, anxiety, quality of life and social functioning. They completed a semi-structured interview about their experience of living with heart failure and the emotional and psychological impact of this. The interview was analysed thematically.

Participants scored in the moderate range on both depression and anxiety measures. They were more concerned about their mood, anxiety, quality of life and social functioning now than before the onset of heart failure. The themes present in the interview data were: changes to self and others; emotional reactions; thoughts about death; expectations for the future; and hospital experiences.

Some people with heart failure report moderate levels of depression and anxiety, and significant changes in their lives; they display varying emotional reactions to these. People have clear expectations for the future and impose limits on their life. Services can make changes to support this population. Suggestions for doing this are made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192 - 198
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cardiac Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017


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