How do patients' values influence heart failure self-care decision-making? A mixed-methods systematic review

Mehri Karimi, Alexander M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Values are central to ethical and effective nursing and health care. However, in relation to heart failure, an extremely common and burdensome syndrome, the role that patients' values have in influencing self-care is poorly understood. Methods: A mixed methods systematic review was conducted using a critical meta-narrative synthesis approach to synthesizing qualitative and qualitized data. Nine databases were searched (14 March 2014). To be included in the review, studies had to contain data on heart failure patients' values and self-care behaviors, include adults aged ≥18 years with symptomatic heart failure, and be published ≥2000 as full articles or theses. Study quality was assessed using a mixed-methods appraisal tool. Findings: Of 6467 citations identified, 54 studies were included (30 qualitative, 8 mixed methods, and 16 quantitative; 6045 patients, 38 lay caregivers, and 96 health care professionals). The synthesis identified multiple bi-directional interactions between heart failure, patients' values, and self-care. Patients are motivated by self-related and other-related values. Self-related values are tied directly to intimate personal feelings (self-direction, pleasure, and being healthy) or related to individuals' life circumstances (maintaining a healthy lifestyle and financial balance). Other-related values, which are fundamentally socially-based, are related to benefits received from society (social recognition and socialization) and social obligations (responsibility, observing traditions, and obedience). For each decision, several values are involved; some are incompatible and some are in conflict. Patients make their self-care decision based on the values they prioritize and those that are blocked. Conclusion: Values are integral to how patients approach and undertake HF self-care. These values both affect and respond to this self-care and the severity of HF symptoms. Values extend to those relating to the self and others and incorporate a range of personal, life, and social dimensions. Values cannot be assumed to be fixed, normative or similar to those held by nurses and other health professionals. Future interventions to improve HF self-care must address and respond to the complexity of patients' values and how they influence patient behavior in undertaking heart failure self-care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul. 2016


  • Decision-making
  • Heart failure
  • Mixed-methods
  • Patient-centered care
  • Self-care
  • Values


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