Purpose of review
To review the application of intersectionality to heart failure. Intersectionality refers to the complex ways in which disenfranchisement and privilege intersect to reproduce and influence health and social outcomes.
Intersectionality challenges approaches that focus on a single or small number of socio-demographic characteristics, such as sex or age. Instead, approaches should take account of the nature and effects of a full range of socio-demographic factors linked to privilege, including: race and ethnicity, social class, income, age, gender identity, disability, geography, and immigration status. Although credible and well established across many fields – there is limited recognition of the effects of intersectionality in research into heart disease, including heart failure. This deficiency is important because heart failure remains a common and burdensome syndrome that requires complex pharmacological and nonpharmacological care and collaboration between health professionals, patients and caregivers during and at the end-of-life.
Approaches to heart failure clinical care should recognize more fully the nature and impact of patients’ intersectionality- and how multiple factors interact and compound to influence patients and their caregivers’ behaviours and health outcomes. Future research should explicate the ways in which multiple factors interact to influence health outcomes.