The self-care coping process in patients with chronic heart failure: A qualitative study

Chia Chien Li, Shiow Ru Chang, Shiow Ching Shun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aim: To understand the self-care coping process among chronic heart failure patients. Background: Previous studies have been carried out to understand the experience and the challenges of living with chronic heart failure. However, the coping processes that patients use to overcome self-care challenges are less understood. Design: A qualitative design with qualitative content analysis of data was employed. Methods: Purposive sampling was conducted to recruit inpatients with chronic heart failure between March 1, 2014–March 1, 2015, in a teaching hospital in Taiwan. Semi-structured interviews (N = 27) were completed, and a content analysis was performed using an inductive method to explore the self-care coping processes in patients with chronic heart failure. Results: The findings were categorised into three themes: (a) responding to chronic heart failure self-care (dealing with negative emotions, accepting reality and struggling between a self-care regime and self preference), (b) finding ways to live with chronic heart failure (enhancing understanding and knowledge about chronic heart failure, maintaining outer and inner self, engaging positively/negatively with others and relying on religious thoughts and seeking consolation) and (c) reinterpreting chronic heart failure and performing meaning-oriented coping (re-evaluating the meaning of life, assigning a new perspective for chronic heart failure and discovering a deeper meaning behind it). Conclusion: Self-appearance concerns should be given more attention by healthcare professionals. Meaning-oriented coping was found to be helpful to cope with the challenges of chronic heart failure. Thus, there is a need to develop interventions associated with meaning-oriented coping to enhance coping strategies for chronic heart failure patients. Relevance to clinical practice: It is suggested for healthcare professionals to understand an individual's coping process and support people with chronic heart failure who struggle with self-care coping. Furthermore, specific interventions including meaning-oriented interventions might benefit people with chronic heart failure to cope more successfully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • chronic heart failure
  • coping process
  • nursing
  • qualitative study
  • self-care


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