OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence to determine the effects of psychological interventions on self-care and psychological and health outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
METHODS: We evaluated the effectiveness of randomized controlled trials using psychological methods or theory on self-care behaviors, anxiety and depression levels, HRQoL, and physical function. Studies published in English, from January 2006 to December 2016, were considered. We searched published and unpublished studies in the following electronic databases: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Risk of bias was assessed using a standard procedure based on the Cochrane Collaboration tool described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
RESULTS: A total of 29 articles, consisting of 25 studies with 3837 participants, were included in this systematic review. Findings showed that despite heterogeneity between studies, psychological interventions tend to improve self-care in CHF patients without clinical depression and cognitive impairment. Pooled results also revealed that the intervention effect on short-term HRQoL, as measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ), was in favor of the intervention group (combined MD -7.53, 95% CI -12.83 to -2.23); however, such effect disappeared as the length of time from the intervention increased. The intervention effects on the participants' anxiety level, as measured by HADS, and physical function, as measured by 6MWT, were not statistically significant.
DISCUSSION: Efforts aimed at promoting self-care were the cornerstone of HF disease management. Nurses play an important role in patient education and secondary prevention. Compared to other professionals, nurses have more patient contact opportunities and are more holistic in all aspects of disease management; therefore, more nurses can be trained to incorporate the brief psychological techniques (such as motivational interviews and cognitive behavior therapy) to maximize intervention effectiveness. The main limitation of the review is the moderate to high level of heterogeneity among the included studies, which may partially undermine the reliability and reproducibility of the results. Because of the heterogeneity among the studies, a conclusion on the optimal format and forms of the intervention could not be drawn. Replication of the studies will be required in the future to isolate the active intervention component and to identify the ideal intervention format and dosage.
Science caught up with our observations, which is nice.
More nurses can be trained to incorporate the brief psychological techniques (such as motivational interviews and cognitive behavior therapy) to maximize intervention effectiveness.
Heterogeneity of studies really limits any clear takeaway.
This intervention is for a very specific group of patients and is likely to be of particular relevance to GP's and Cardiologists and their rehab teams.