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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2010, Article ID 157939, 6 pages
Research Article

Patient Experiences of Structured Heart Failure Programmes

Division of Population Health Sciences, Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

Received 9 November 2010; Accepted 25 December 2010

Academic Editor: K. S. Sunnerhagen

Copyright © 2010 Nuala E. Tully et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. Patient experiences of structured heart failure rehabilitation and their views on the important components of heart failure services were examined. Methods. Focus groups were conducted with fifteen participants (men, 𝑛 = 1 2 ) attending one of two heart failure rehabilitation programmes. Sessions were guided by a semistructured interview schedule covering participants' experiences of the programme, maintenance, and GP role. Focus group transcripts were analysed qualitatively. Results. Participants indicated that rehabilitation programmes substantially met their needs. Supervised exercise sessions increased confidence to resume physical activity, while peer-group interaction and supportive medical staff improved morale. However, once the programme ended, some participants' self-care motivation lapsed, especially maintenance of an exercise routine. Patients doubted their GPs' ability to help them manage their condition. Conclusion. Structured rehabilitation programmes are effective in enabling patients to develop lifestyle skills to live with heart failure. However, postrehabilitation maintenance interventions are necessary to sustain patients' confidence in disease self-management.