Older patients with chronic heart failure within Swedish community health care: a record review of nursing assessments and interventions


  • Anna Ehrenberg PhD, RN,

  • Margareta Ehnfors PhD, RNT,

  • Inger Ekman PhD, RN

Anna Ehrenberg
Department of Health and Society Dalarna University SE-791 88 Falun
Telephone: +4623778455
E-mail: aeh@du.se


Background.  Older patients with chronic heart failure constitute a large group within community home care that is at high risk for re-hospitalization. However, hospital readmission can be prevented if early signs of deterioration are recognized and proper interventions applied.

Aims and objectives.  The aim of the study was to audit nursing care for older chronic heart failure patients within the Swedish community health care system.

Design.  The study adopted a retrospective descriptive design.

Methods.  In a Swedish urban municipality nursing documentation from 161 records on patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure was collected retrospectively from community nursing home care units. Patient records were reviewed for characteristics of nursing care and assessed for comprehensiveness in recording.

Results.  The main results showed that medical care of patients with chronic heart failure was poorly recorded, making it possible only to follow fragments of the care process. The nursing notes showed poor adherence to current clinical guidelines. Only 12% of the records contained notes on patients’ body weight and only 4% noted patients’ knowledge about chronic heart failure. When interventions did occur, they largely consisted of drug administration.

Conclusions.  The findings revealed flaws in the recording of specific assessment and interventions as well as poor adherence to current international clinical guidelines.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Supportive guidelines available at the point of care are needed to enhance proper community-based home health care for older patients with chronic heart failure.