Self-care for patients with heart failure

My research aims at enhancing the self-care of heart failure patients through new technologies. Adequate self-care is vital for patients with heart failure. Although several interventions are successful to improve self-care behavior in patients, there are some challenging issues in maintaining optimal self-care.

It is often difficult for patients to maintain optimal self-care management on the long term. Education, counselling and skill building interventions have been shown to be successful in improving self-care on the short term, however long term adherence to self-care behavior needs an additional approach. It might be difficult for patients to keep optimal self-management in case of changing circumstances, such as comorbidity or changes in social or physical situation. Interventions need to be tailored to specific patients and conventional methods such as patient education and counselling might not be suitable for all patients. Some patients might benefit more from a tailored home-based computerized approach.

A new approach to increase physical activity at home is the use of ‘serious virtual reality games’. The use of so-called ‘exergaming’ is recognized to have much to offer to the fields of prevention and rehabilitation. On the other hand, to avoid a new “hype” overestimating the potentials of these games, we started a study where we currently recruit patients in a multi-center, international randomized controlled study with in total 600 heart failure patients ( NCT01785121). The overall purpose of the HF-Wii study is to determine the effectiveness of structured introduction and access to a Wii game computer in patients with heart failure to improve their exercise capacity, their daily physical activity, health care use and quality of life. Patients will be randomized into attention control (control) or structured access to a Wii game computer (Wii). Although for reasons of simplicity we have chosen for a specific application (Nintendo Wii) in this study, the results can be translated to similar applications. This study is collecting data in Norrköping, Linköping, Jönköping and Huddinge and in Rome, Italy. We have also started data collection in the Netherlands and Israel in 2014.

Please find an update on the project and publications on