Enhancing outpatient heart failure self-care through health literacy and cultural sensitivity

Date

2013-05-01

Authors

Lochan, Sanjy

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Abstract

In this paper, I present an integrative literature review to explore whether health literacy (HL) and cultural sensitivity can strengthen nurses’ capacity to foster self-care in outpatient heart failure disease management programs (HFDMPs), and to enable sustainable health outcomes for adult HF patients. Literature from nursing, medicine, psychology, and social sciences is synthesized to develop the concepts of self-care, HL, and cultural sensitivity using the exemplar of outpatient adult HF care, in British Columbia (B.C.). Adults with HF cared for in outpatient clinics can be intimidated by generalized, evidence-driven self-care prescriptions, particularly if they do not fully understand the nature of their heart disease, its implications, or how certain therapies can control symptoms, delay disease progression and preserve quality of life (QOL). Health care providers can enhance the outpatient HF self-care experience using a holistic-biomedical perspective which draws on principles of Orem’s Self Care Deficit Theory (SCDT), HL, and cultural sensitivity. Future research should evaluate HFDMPs that include attention to HL and cultural sensitivity to determine if such enhanced programs enable sustainable patient improvements in HF symptoms and QOL, and if these improvements can occur sooner and with greater impact when HL and cultural sensitivity are integrated into HF self-care guidelines in an outpatient program.

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Keywords

outpatient, self-care, heart failure, cultural sensitivity, health literacy, guidelines

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