Many heart failure patients struggle with connected issues that jeopardize their sense of well-being and quality of life. Patients try to figure out how to deal with their new predicament. The current study sought to investigate religious coping from the perspective of heart failure patients. A recent study reveals that spirituality can greatly improve the quality of life for people with heart failure who are receiving palliative care. The authors argue that clinicians should explore spirituality as a potential target for enhancing patient-centered, therapeutic outcomes in these patients.
The findings imply that a spiritual method can help people cope with heart failure more effectively. Patients learn to accept the reality of the disease and its stages, as well as to manage their condition with patience, tolerance, and calm and confident optimism for a bright future.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that spirituality can help persons with chronic conditions like cancer enhance their quality of life. According to a review of the evidence published today in JACC Heart Failure, spirituality can also improve the quality of life for heart failure patients. It goes on to say that spirituality should be regarded as a potential target for palliative care interventions in order to improve patient-centered and clinical outcomes in these people.
Patients who have heart failure experience a poorer quality of life compared to their peers, with high levels of depression, anxiety and spiritual distress. Contributing to diminished quality of life is the fact that heart failure, unlike many other chronic diseases, is very unpredictable and can lead to hopelessness, isolation, and altered self-image.Rachel S. Tobin
“Patients who have heart failure experience a poorer quality of life compared to their peers, with high levels of depression, anxiety, and spiritual distress,” said Rachel S. Tobin, MD, resident in Internal Medicine at Duke University Hospital, and lead author of the study. “Contributing to diminished quality of life is the fact that heart failure, unlike many other chronic diseases, is very unpredictable and can lead to hopelessness, isolation and altered self-image.”
Palliative treatment is recommended for heart failure patients by the American College of Cardiology and other major cardiovascular associations. Spirituality is a key component of palliative care, with the purpose of recognizing and resolving spiritual difficulties as well as connecting patients with suitable spiritual and religious resources. However, there has been little research on the impact of spirituality on people with heart failure, and there are no instruments available to quantify it.
According to the researchers, spirituality is difficult to define, but they cite various definitions that define spirituality as how people find meaning and purpose in their lives, which can be distinct from religious beliefs.
For instance, the Institute of Medicine defines spirituality as “the needs and expectations which humans have to find meaning, purpose, and value in their life. Such needs can be specifically religious, but even people who have no religious faith or are not members of organized religion have belief systems that give their lives meaning and purpose.”
Researchers conducted a review of 47 articles to investigate current knowledge of spirituality in heart failure patients, describe associations between spirituality and quality of life as well as patient outcomes, and propose clinical applications and future directions for spirituality in this population. There were about ten different devices used to test spirituality, some simple and some complex. Among the key data studied are:
- In the Palliative Care in Heart Failure (PAL-HF) trial, spiritual well-being improved in patients randomized to a palliative care intervention compared to usual care as evaluated by FACIT-Sp.? The FICA spiritual history tool was also used to gather information on spirituality.
- Patients who were randomly assigned to palliative care had higher quality of life, according to the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Palliative Care (FACIT-Pal). They were also found to have decreased anxiety and sadness levels.
- Another study discovered that patients who completed a 12-week mail-based psychosocial intervention had improved quality of life as measured by the KCCQ, as well as less depression and yearning for meaning. The intervention was deemed worthwhile by 85.7 percent of the 33 patients who took part in the study. Spiritual therapy was connected with a higher quality of life in pilot research, but there was no control group to evaluate if the effect was substantial.
“The data suggests that spirituality might not only improve the patient’s quality of life, but it can also benefit caregivers and potentially prevent heart failure patients from needing to be readmitted to the hospital,” Tobin said. “We have proposed and are now developing a spirituality screening instrument comparable to those used to screen for depression. This can be used to identify individuals in palliative care with heart failure who are at risk of spiritual distress. However, this is only the beginning. More investigation is required.”