Psychosocial factors determine the effectiveness of self-care in patients with heart failure

  • Lack of family and social support and depressive symptoms are the main factors that impair patients’ ability to adopt healthy habits and practices.
  • IDIBELL researchers and HUB and Primary Care professionals sign this research article, which may allow psychosocial factors to be used as predictors of self-care outcomes.
3- Umico

The prevalence of heart failure (HF) has been growing steadily in Western societies for years, and is now estimated to affect between 1% and 2% of the population. Continued improvement of therapeutic tools and treatments has led to an increase in the average survival of HF patients, which is over 60% at 5 years. After receiving medical discharge, the ability of patients to adopt healthy habits and practices in their daily lives, ranging from diet to physical activity, becomes an essential component in improving their quality of life and reducing the risks of disease aggravation.

A team of researchers and health professionals from IDIBELL and HUB has completed a study comprising a total of 1,123 people that suffered from HF with the aim of identifying the psychosocial factors associated with worse self-care. The demographic, clinical, and social parameters of each of these patients were evaluated in detail. “This let us identify the lack of resources for social and family support, such as the services of a caregiver, and the appearance of deppressive symptoms as the main factors in abandoning self-care” explains Esther Calero, IDIBELL researcher, nurse in the Cardiology Service at Bellvitge Hospital and first author of the work. The paper was published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Among the conclusions of this research is the recommendation to complement the patient’s clinical assessment with a comprehensive psychosocial and socioeconomic assessment, in order to identify potential obstacles to optimal self-care and thus facilitate the design of specific actions for each case, a process in which nursing plays a decisive role. Besides, the process of self-care requires the education and voluntary knowledge of the patient in managing HF. In this sense, it is observed that worse monitoring of self-care measures can reduce the patient’s ability to recognize the first symptoms of possible decompensation, which can have negative consequences. Another conclusion of the study is that the highest levels of self-care in patients with HF are recorded among women, which is associated with their traditional caring role towards children, partners, the elderly or dependent ones.

The study is part of the Territorial Integrated Care Program for Patients with Heart Failure of the ICS Southern Metropolitan Territorial Management. This program is based on maintaining the continuity of care between the hospital and primary care and is coordinated by Dr. Josep Comín, head of the IDIBELL cardiovascular disease research group and head of the HUB’s Cardiology Service, and Coral Fernández, Deputy Director of the Southern Metropolitan Primary Care Directorate.




The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

Scroll to Top