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Dis Manag. 2003 Summer;6(2):111-7.

Use of the short form 36 in a primary care based disease management program for patients with congestive heart failure.

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Care Coordination Program, Geisinger Health Plan, Hughes Office Building 1st Floor, Danville, PA 17822-3020, USA.


While disease management has been described as an important strategy for the care of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) in the managed care setting, little is known about the impact of this approach on overall health-related quality of life. In this study the Short Form 36 (SF-36) was administered to all patients entering CHF disease management at the time of program entry and at 1 year following entry. Scores on the eight subscales and the two composite scales were calculated and compared before and after. Patients were enrolled from a mixed-model health maintenance organization (HMO) with 34,740 Medicare + Choice enrollees residing in 38 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Two hundred sixty-eight continuously enrolled patients in an HMO-sponsored CHF disease state management program with completed baseline and follow-up SF-36 surveys were sampled. All patients entered into disease management received primary care based, nurse-directed education about CHF self-management including instruction on etiology of CHF, the importance of medication compliance, home care services if indicated, monitoring weight gain, increased understanding of the warning signs of worsening CHF, and coaching on strategies to contact a physician in a timely manner when CHF worsens. Nurses also facilitated for CHF guidelines among primary care physicians, including the need to obtain a baseline assessment of cardiac function, prescribe angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers when appropriate, and initiated appropriate specialist referral. Compared with enrollees who did not complete a pair of SF-36 surveys, the 268 respondents were younger and had a significantly higher rate of cardiac imaging as well as use of ACE inhibitors and beta blocker medications. Analysis of the SF-36 data revealed that three of the eight (Role Physical, General Health Perceptions, and Role Emotional) subscales increased in a statistically significant manner, as did the Mental Health Composite Score. No statistically significant declines in SF-36 scores were observed. Despite limitations to our study, we found disease management for patients with CHF can be associated with significant improvements in quality of life as measured by the SF-36. Compared with nonrespondents, respondents had a higher prevalence of cardiac imaging, ACE inhibitor use, and beta blocker medication use. Our findings are also limited by a lack of a control group with the possibility that the improvements we observed were unrelated to the disease management intervention. However, our findings and success with the use of this tool indicate the SF-36 can be an important part of the ongoing assessment of patients in a disease management program for CHF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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