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Study reveals that spirituality can enhance quality of life for heart failure patients

by Pragati Singh

Study reveals that spirituality can enhance quality of life for heart failure patients

According to research headed by the American College of Cardiology, spirituality not only improves the quality of life for those with chronic conditions like cancer, but it also has an influence on heart failure patients.

The findings were reported in the journal ‘JACC Heart Failure.’ It goes on to say that spirituality should be regarded as a possible target for palliative care interventions in order to enhance patient-centered and clinical outcomes in these people.

Patients with heart failure have a lower quality of life than their counterparts, with higher degrees of despair, anxiety, and spiritual distress, said Rachel S. Tobin, MD, a resident in internal medicine at Duke University Hospital and the study’s primary author.

The fact that heart failure, unlike many other chronic conditions, is quite unexpected and can lead to despondency, loneliness, and changed self-image, he noted, contributes to a lower quality of life.

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 recognising and resolving spiritual difficulties as well as connecting patients with suitable spiritual and religious resources. However, there has been little study on the influence 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 views.

The Institute of Medicine, for example, defines spirituality as “the desires and expectations that individuals have to find meaning, purpose, and value in their lives.” Such requirements can be religious in nature, but those who have no religious beliefs or are not members of organised religions have belief systems that give their lives meaning and purpose.

Researchers conducted a study of 47 papers to investigate the present state of information about spirituality in heart failure patients.

It discussed the links between spirituality and quality of life, as well as patient outcomes, and it proposed therapeutic applications and future prospects for spirituality in this group. There were around ten different devices used to test spirituality, some simple and others sophisticated.

Among the key data studied are:

1. According to FACIT-Sp, spiritual well-being improved in patients assigned to a palliative care intervention compared to routine care in the Palliative Care in Heart Failure (PAL-HF) experiment. The FICA spiritual history tool was also used to acquire spiritual information.

2. Patients who were randomly assigned to palliative care had a 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.

3. In another trial, patients who completed a 12-week mail-based psychosocial intervention had a greater quality of life as judged by the KCCQ, as well as less depression and a need for meaning. The intervention was deemed useful by 85.7% of the 33 patients who took part in the study. In a pilot study, spiritual counselling was connected with a higher quality of life, but there was no control group to evaluate if the impact was substantial.

Tobin said that the data shows that spirituality might not only enhance the patient’s quality of life, but it can also benefit caregivers and perhaps prevent heart failure patients from needing to be readmitted to the hospital.

We have proposed and are now developing a spirituality screening instrument comparable to those used to test 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. “He reached a conclusion.


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