Congestive Heart Failure and Self-Care Theory

The self-care nursing theory was developed by Dorothea Orem and is based on the premise that nurses can teach and assist patients with the ability to practice self-care and maintain personal health and well-being. Self-care is defined as the natural decision-making process that consists of behaviors that allow for physiologic stability and management of symptoms as they occur. While maintenance in self-care consists of treatment adherence, management is based on symptom recognition and evaluation which can incentivize treatment and change.

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Self-care inherently promotes human health and recovery, particularly in situations of limited healthcare access. However, it can also be used to decrease healthcare service expenditures by alleviating symptoms, shortening recovery times, and reducing hospital stay and readmission rates (Hasanpour-Dehkordi, Mohammadi, & Nikbakht-Nasrabadi, 2016).

One of the fundamental principles and the practical challenges of self-care in health care is patient education. In order to promote self-care, nurses engage in rigorous patient education at discharge, but statistics suggest that as little as 12% of adults have the necessary levels of health literacy to self-manage their health with activities such as medication adherence. However, studies have shown that while health literacy does contribute to the knowledge of the disease, it is self-efficacy that is associated with adherence (Chen et al., 2014).

Therefore, it is critical to bridge the gap between patient education and health promotion, an underlying objective of this report on the education of patients on congestive heart failure. It may be pertinent, that both inpatient and outpatient patient education interventions focus more on self-efficacy to promote self-care and adherence, which will result in optimal outcomes more so than factual knowledge about CHF. The purpose of self-care is to redirect the decision-making process towards maintenance and management of the condition, thus reducing instances of adverse events and readmission.


Chen, A. M., Yehle, K. S., Albert, N. M., Ferraro, K. F., Mason, H. L., Murawski, M. M., & Plake, K. S. (2014). Relationships between health literacy and heart failure knowledge, self-efficacy, and self-care adherence. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 10(2), 378-386. Web.

Hasanpour-Dehkordi, A., Mohammadi, N., & Nikbakht-Nasrabadi, A. (2016). Re-designing Orem’s self-care theory for patients with chronic hepatitis. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 22(4), 395-401. Web.

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