Many definitions of Heart Failure (HF) exist but highlight only selective forms of this complex syndrome. According to the ESC guidelines, 2008 HF is a complex syndrome in which the patients should have the following features: symptoms typical of HF, signs typical of HF and objective evidence of a structural or functional abnormality of the heart at rest.
HF is the only major cardiovascular disease in which the incidence is increasing.
The prevalence of HF in the overall population is between 2 – 3%. The prevalence rises sharply with age so that prevalence in 70 -80 year old people is between 10 – 20%. HF is the most common reason for hospital admission in people over the age of 65years. Its prognosis is worse than most cancers. Overall 50% of patients are dead at four years. 40% of patients admitted to hospital with HF are dead or readmitted within one year (ESC, 2008). Frequent admissions cause immense burden on the individual, their family and the healthcare system. HF and its associated complications is a huge public health problem. It is the most common reason for admission to hospital in people over 65 years of age and it complicates many other admissions. Frequent admissions cause immense burden on the individual, their family and the healthcare system. However, it has been proposed that up to half of readmissions are preventable. Many of these readmissions are caused by the failure of the healthcare professionals to target high risk patients, prescribe optimal treatment, provide discharge planning, education and follow up. Readmissions can also be caused by patients failure to adhere to medical treatments and dietary advice, inability to perform self care behaviour, including monitoring symptoms of deterioration and failure to take action in order to prevent further deterioration (Reigel et al, 2009). The value and significance of self care behaviour for HF patients has received much attention in the literature (Havranek...