Building skill in heart failure self-care among community dwelling older adults: Results of a pilot study

Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Gail D.Eramo Melkus, Stuart Katz, Alissa Levine-Wong, Judy Dillworth, Charles M. Cleland, Barbara Riegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Most of the day-to-day care for heart failure (HF) is done by the patient at home and requires skill in self-care. In this randomized controlled trial (RCT) we tested the efficacy of a community-based skill-building intervention on HF self-care, knowledge and health-related quality of life (HRQL) at 1- and 3-months. Methods: An ethnically diverse sample (n=75) of patients with HF (53% female; 32% Hispanic, 27% Black; mean age 69.9. ±. 10 years) was randomized to the intervention group (IG) or a wait-list control group (CG). The protocol intervention focused on tactical and situational HF self-care skill development delivered by lay health educators in community senior centers. Data were analyzed using mixed (between-within subjects) ANOVA. Results: There was a significant improvement in self-care maintenance [. F(2,. 47)=3.42, p=.04, (Cohen's f=.38)], self-care management [. F(2,. 41)=4.10, p=.02, (Cohen's f=.45) and HF knowledge [. F(2,. 53)=8.00, p=.001 (Cohen's f=.54)] in the IG compared to the CG. Conclusions: The skill-building intervention improved self-care and knowledge but not HRQL in this community-dwelling sample. Practice implications: Delivering an intervention in a community setting using lay health educators provides an alternative to clinic- or home-based teaching that may be useful across diverse populations and geographically varied settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Health educators
  • Heart failure
  • Self-care
  • Symptom monitoring decision-making
  • Treatment adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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