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Ital Heart J. 2005 Jul;6(7):573-7.

Homecare for patients with heart failure in Italy.

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  • 1Italian College of General Practitioners, Florence, Italy.


BACKGROUND; Heart failure (HF) represents an important health issue in western countries, especially for the elderly, frail population. A number of HF patients must usually be assisted at home. No information is available about the usual care of HF patients in Italy. The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of HF patients receiving homecare in the Italian general practice.


A questionnaire was sent to 320 general practitioners (GPs) involved in the Health Search project. Among these, 148 (46.2%) answered and 376 home-ridden HF patients (60.3% women, median age 85 years) were identified.


257 (57%) patients were in NYHA class III or IV. Multiple relevant concomitant diseases occurred in 326 (86.7%) subjects. Only 140 (37.2%) patients were able to take their pills without any help; caregivers, mainly family members, were required 24 hours a day in 78.7% of cases. The length of homecare was > 1 year in 84.5% of cases.


According to our data, thousands of HF patients are usually assisted at home for long periods in Italy. This is a very old group of subjects with heavy co-morbidity and a high need for continuous, prolonged assistance. Studies specifically aimed at the care of HF patients are needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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