Despite the rising prevalence of heart failure in Africa, it remains unclear what supportive and palliative care services are required to meet patient needs. This review highlights recent contributions to knowledge of the supportive and palliative care needs of heart failure patients in Africa.
Multiple epidemiological studies demonstrate the population-level burden of heart failure in Africa, characterized by low levels of ischaemic heart disease and a young mean patient age. However, few studies have addressed patients’ specific palliative and supportive care needs. Only one recent published study investigated the quality of life of heart failure patients in Africa, and although conference abstracts suggest more research is forthcoming, these remain scarce. For service implementation, research is again sparse, but promising recent developments, including a hospital-based palliative care service for organ failure patients and a community-based programme to diagnose and manage heart failure, present future research avenues.
Despite advances in epidemiological knowledge, very little research has investigated the illness experience and multidimensional needs of individuals. Obtaining this evidence through culturally sensitive research is essential to future development and testing of new and existing palliative care services for heart failure patients in Africa.
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Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London, London, UK
Correspondence to Lucy Selman, BA, MPhil, PG Cert Pall Care, PhD, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London, Bessemer Road, London SE5 9PJ, UK. Tel: +44 207 848 5566; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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