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Female patients with congestive heart failure: how they conceive their life situation

Authors

  • Jan Mårtensson RN BNSc,

    1. Cardiac Nurse Specialist, Department of Cardiology, Ryhov County Hospital, Jönköping, Centre for Health Promotion Research, Halmstad University, Halmstad, and the Department of Primary Health Care, Göteborg University, Göteborg,
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  • Jan-Erik Karlsson MD PhD,

    1. Head, Department of Cardiology, Ryhov County Hospital, Jönköping,
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  • Bengt Fridlund RN PhD

    1. Associate Professor, Head, Centre for Health Promotion Research, Halmstad University, Halmstad and Department of Primary Health Care, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden
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JanMårtensson Department of Cardiology, Ryhov County Hospital, S-551 85 Jonkoping, Sweden.

Abstract

Female patients with congestive heart failure: how they conceive their life situation¶Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a significant health problem for women, particularly elderly women. The risk factors for heart failure appear to be different in women than in men, with hypertension and diabetes playing a greater role in women and ischaemic heart disease a greater role in men. The aim of this study was to describe, from a nurse’s perspective, how female patients with CHF conceive their life situation. Interview questions were designed with a focus on five dimensions: biophysical, socio-cultural, emotional, intellectual and spiritual-existential. A qualitative method was used with a phenomenographic approach, as this approach examines aspects of the surroundings as they are conceived. Five categories emerged in the results: feeling content, feeling a sense of support, feeling a sense of limitation, feeling anxiety and feeling powerless. A sense of limitation regarding working capacity and being able to support those in their surroundings causes patients with CHF to experience anxiety due to feeling insecure about themselves and in relation to their surroundings. This may result in feelings of worthlessness in women with CHF, both concerning their own capacity and the fact that they feel they are a burden to those around them. Through nursing intervention, these patients can receive help to break this vicious circle of feeling limited and powerless. This can be done by encouraging them to verbalize their feelings and set realistic goals and expectations, and by increasing their knowledge and that of their families concerning CHF and its symptoms, with a focus on self-care and existing possibilities. These measures will make it easier for women with CHF to maintain a hopeful perspective and a sense of control, competence, and self-esteem.

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