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Ethical Challenges in Advanced Heart Failure

Ethical Considerations

Heart failure is a serious health condition that requires researchers that study the problem to be aware of potential ethical issues. There is a problem of systematic differences “in the treatment of patients of different race, sex, and socioeconomic status with heart failure” (Kini & Kirkpatrcik, 2013, p. 28). This means that efforts are needed for reducing the gap in the provision of effective care among the mentioned groups. Strategies for overcoming this ethical issue include the understanding of cultural differences in approaches to heart failure treatment and the exploration of moral values that may impact the relationship between study subjects and the researcher.

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Informed consent is another ethical issue involved in the study. It is associated with following ethical codes and regulations in research involving human subjects. Without obtaining informed consent from study participants, the researcher has no right to share sensitive information on heart failure and the effectiveness of the implemented intervention (Nijhawan et al., 2013). To address this ethical issue, the researcher will make sure to compile a document that described procedures, information that will be disclosed, relevant players, and potential implications of the study and will ask participants to sign the document after reading it.

Study Limitations

Several limitations are expected to affect the outcome of the study on congestive heart failure and reducing the readmission rates. Access is likely to be a limitation because the researcher does not have enough resources to have unrestricted access to a large sample size of participants due to the characteristics of their condition. Also, this problem may occur because heart failure may be the reason for patients receiving end-of-life care, which makes the limitation of access even more complex. It is possible that access will be restricted or denied for the sake of protecting the physical and emotional well-being of patients who have experienced congestive heart failure. Because of access limitations, the study will have a relatively small sample size since finding participants diagnosed with a serious heart condition and willing to engage in research is a complex task. It is possible that the researcher will have to spend long hours at healthcare facilities to recruit patients for the study, which contributes to the time and resource limitation. Lastly, while it is expected that prejudice will be avoided, the fact that the researcher will work with a diverse patient sample may lead to arising biases either on participants’ or the scientist’s part.

Implications for Practice

In the case, if nurses’ actions regarding educating patients about congestive heart failure, interventions on follow-up, and the use of transitional care are successful, the implications for practice will be vast. As there is great variability of research on the topic of congestive heart failure, the use of specific interventions that will improve patients’ well-being and promote their self-care will greatly benefit the body of available studies. Also, the research will be valuable for nurses who will get an understanding of how they can contribute to the follow-up and monitoring of patients that experienced congestive heart failure. The study can become a basis for future research on a similar topic with the integration of other nurse-led interventions targeted at improving patients’ self-efficacy and ensuring that the survivors of congestive heart failure take control in overcoming the adverse implications of their health condition.


Kini, V., & Kirkpatrick, J. (2013). Ethical challenges in advanced heart failure. Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care, 7(1), 21-28.

Nijhawan, L. P., Janodia, M. D., Muddukrishna, B. S., Bhat, K. M., Bairy, K. L., Udupa, N., & Musmade, P. B. (2013). Informed consent: Issues and challenges. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 4(3), 134-140.

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