• quantitative approaches;
  • statistics;
  • occupational therapy;
  • rehabilitation;
  • elder care;
  • coronary heart disease

Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a common condition among Europe’s aging population. Findings indicate that CHF patients must make significant changes in many aspects of daily life. Previous studies of older primary health-care participants and their activities of daily living (ADL)-ability are rare. The aim of this study was to describe ADL-ability in older people with CHF syndrome. The factors considered were dependence on others, perceived strain, quality of performance, and the association between The New York Heart Association classification (NYHA) and ADL-ability. The participants, recruited from a primary health-care centre, had symptoms indicating CHF and were diagnosed by a cardiologist. Forty persons over 65 years (mean age 81), participated in the study and self-reported co-morbidity was frequent. The Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) and the Staircase of ADL were used to describe ADL-ability. Most participants were independent with respect to personal activities of daily living (PADL), and 75% were dependent in one or more instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), usually shopping. Most participants perceived strain, and only three could perform all ADL without strain. Age had a significant impact on ADL performance (motor measures: OR 7.11, CI 1.19–42.32, p = 0.031 and process measures: OR 8.49, CI 1.86–38.79, p = 0.006). However, participants showed lower ADL motor and process ability in AMPS compared with well persons of the same age. Participants in NYHA III/IV (adjusted for age), had significantly increased effort (under motor cut-off) when performing ADL-tasks (OR: 15.5, CI 2.40–100.1, p = 0.004) compared to those in NYHA I/II. Older persons in primary health care with CHF exhibit a high amount of dependence, perceived strain and increased effort during performance of ADL. There is an association between NYHA class III/IV and a decreased ADL-ability (AMPS motor ability) even when adjusted for age.