Comparing Perspectives of Patients, Caregivers, and Clinicians on Heart Failure Management

Faraz S. Ahmad*, Frances K. Barg, Kathryn H. Bowles, Madeline Alexander, Lee R. Goldberg, Benjamin French, Shreya Kangovi, Thomas R. Gallagher, Breah Paciotti, Stephen E. Kimmel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background Although substantial effort has been devoted to reducing readmissions among heart failure (HF) patients, little is known about factors identified by patients and caregivers that may contribute to readmissions. The goal of this study was to compare the perspectives of HF patients, their caregivers, and their care team on HF management and hospital admissions. Understanding these perspectives may lead to better strategies for improving care during the post-hospital transition and for reducing preventable readmissions. Methods and Results We performed freelisting, an anthropologic technique in which participants list items in response to a question, with hospitalized HF patients (n = 58), their caregivers (n = 32), and clinicians (n = 67). We asked about home HF management tasks, difficulties in managing HF, and perceived reasons for hospital admission. Results were analyzed with the use of Anthropac. Salience indices (measures of the most important words for defining the domain of interest) were calculated. Patients and clinicians described similar home HF management tasks, whereas caregivers described tasks related to activities of daily living. Clinicians cited socioeconomic factors as challenges to HF management, whereas patients and caregivers cited limited functional status and daily activities. When asked about reasons for hospitalization, patients and caregivers listed distressing symptoms and illness, whereas clinicians viewed patient behaviors to be primarily responsible for admission. Conclusions These findings highlight that although some similarities exist, there are important differences among patients, caregivers, and clinicians in how they perceive the challenges of HF management and reasons for readmission. Understanding these differences may be critical to developing strategies to reduce readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiac Failure
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Heart failure
  • patient-centered care
  • qualitative research
  • readmissions
  • transitional care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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