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Eur Heart J. 1998 Aug;19(8):1254-60.

Feasibility of a nurse-monitored, outpatient-care programme for elderly patients with moderate-to-severe, chronic heart failure.

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Department of Nursing, UmeƄ University, Sweden.



To evaluate the feasibility of a nurse-monitored, outpatient-care program for elderly patients previously hospitalized with chronic heart failure.


Patients with chronic heart failure hospitalized in the medical wards were screened to find those eligible for a randomized study to compare the effect of a nurse-monitored, outpatient-care programme aiming at symptom management, with conventional care. The inclusion criteria were patients classified in New York Heart Association classes III-IV, age 65 years, and eligibility for an outpatient follow-up programme. The total in-hospital population of patients discharged with a heart-failure diagnosis was surveyed. Eighty-nine per cent of all the hospitalized patients (n=1541) were 65 years old. Of these, 69% (n=1058) were treated in the medical wards which were screened. The study criteria were met by 158 patients (15%). No visits to the nurse occurred in 23 cases among the 79 patients randomized to the structured-care group (29%), mainly on account of death or fatigue. The numbers of hospitalizations and hospital days did not differ between the structured-care and the usual-care groups.


Given the selection criteria and the outline of the interventions, the outpatient, nurse-monitored, symptom-management programme was not feasible for the majority of these elderly patients with moderate-to-severe, chronic heart failure, mainly because of the small proportion of eligible patients and the high drop-out rate. Management of these patients would have to be more adjusted to their home situation.

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