Abstract 17813: Recognition of Worsening Heart Failure by Patients and Family Caregivers/Significant Others: Impact on Decision to Contact Providers and Time to Hospitalization
Purpose: Little is known about HF patients’ and their family caregivers/significant others' (FC/SO) ability to recognize worsening HF and decision to contact their providers. The purpose of this study was to compare symptom recognition by patients and FC/SOs in 2 groups: those who contacted their providers for decompensating HF prior to hospitalization and those who did not contact a provider before their hospitalization.
Methods: Interviews were conducted with 124 dyads of hospitalized chronic HF patients and their FC/SOs about recognition of worsening HF symptoms and their decision to contact a provider prior to hospitalization.
Results: Patient participants were primarily white males; mean age 65 years (SD=15.4). FC/SO participants were primarily female family members; mean age 58 years (SD=14.2). Two groups were identified: those that contacted their providers about their HF symptoms (N=59) and those that did not contact their providers (N=65) before they were hospitalized. Patients and their FC/SO responses on recognition of HF symptoms (r=.33), identifying the cause as HF (r=.30), and reporting that the duration of symptoms influenced decision to seek care (r=.23) were all moderately correlated and statistically significant (p<.05). However, patients in the group that contacted a provider about worsening HF symptoms were significantly more likely than patients in the group that did not contact a provider to recognize symptoms and believe there would be consequences if they did not seek care. Whereas, FC/SOs in the group that contacted a provider were significantly more likely than FC/SOs in the group who did not contact a provider to believe that the duration of symptoms and consequences for not seeking care influenced their decision to seek care. Patients in the group that contacted a provider were hospitalized a median of 1 day later as compared to those who did not contact a provider (median 6.2 days vs 5.2 days, respectively).
Conclusions: Recognition of worsening HF by both patients and their FC/SOs is important and impacts their decision to contact providers. Further research is needed to determine if earlier symptom recognition by HF patients and their FC/SOs and more timely contact with providers actually prevents or reduces HF hospitalizations.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.