Congestive heart failure is increasing in incidence, prevalence, and mortality in a rapidly growing American geriatric population. Therefore, the purpose of this descriptive study was to identify, examine, and describe the health beliefs of elders with congestive heart failure (CHF). It is believed that health beliefs influence health or illness behavior. This study explored the health beliefs of elderly patients with CHF residing in Northeast Mississippi. The research question was what are the health beliefs of elderly clients with congestive heart failure? The sample consisted of 32 subjects aged 65 and older who were clients of a home care agency. The Health Perceptions Questionnaire (HPQ) by Ware (1976) was utilized to identify health beliefs. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study indicated that elders in the study had more positive than negative health perceptions. Most (75%) subjects scored in the medium range on the HPQ. The implications for nursing include the need to educate nurse practitioners on methods to improve the health beliefs of elderly sick patients. The nurse practitioner should assess the health beliefs of clients in his or her practice and use this information to individualize care. The nurse practitioner should emphasize and implement health promotional programs. Recommendations for further research should include the following: (a) a larger elderly population in different geographical areas, (b) nurse practitioner programs need to prepare nurse practitioners on how to use health beliefs of clients to promote health, (c) determine health care practices and needs of the elderly with congestive heart failure in relation to elderly individuals without CHF, and (d) include qualitative research methods.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Bonnie E. Lockard

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynn Chilton

Third Advisor

Donna Gullette

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons