Heart failure affects more than 4.6 million people in the United States (Dahl & Penque, 2000). While mortality from myocardial infarction is on the decline, congestive heart failure numbers continue to rise. Statistics indicate that 550,000 cases occur each year, at an estimated cost of $21.4 billion a year (National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2002). Elders with congestive heart failure (CHF) do not always understand their disease nor do they recognize its symptoms. Recognition of CHF symptoms can lead to improved management and self-care. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to provide basic, low-literacy CHF education to rural community-based elders. Orem's Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory was used in the study. Orem's theory is believed to be relevant as many elders with CHF show decreased ability for self-care agency. The following null hypothesis guided this research: There will be no difference in the knowledge level of community-based elders with CHF who receive CHF education and those who do not receive CHF education. The sample was obtained from a rural health clinic in a southern state. Subjects had to have CHF as diagnosed by their physician, live at home, and be able to read and write. Data were collected using a combination of researcher-designed information and pictorial educational materials created by and approved for use by Doctors Darren DeWalt, Michael Pignone, and Bonnie Angel of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A posttest survey created by the researcher was administered to both groups following the intervention. Data were analyzed using a two tailed t-test to test the difference between the groups.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Teresa Hamill

Second Advisor

Melinda Rush

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons