Cultural diversity in heart failure management: Findings from the DISCOVER study (part 2)

Patricia M. Davidson, Peter MacDonald, Debra K. Moser, Esther Ang, Glenn Paull, Sam Choucair, John Daly, Leila Gholizadeh, Kathleen Dracup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Self-management is a critical dimension in managing chronic conditions, particularly in heart failure (HF). Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, relating to both illness and wellness, are strongly influenced by culture and ethnicity, impacting upon an individual's capacity to engage in self-care behaviours. Effective management of HF is largely dependent on facilitation of culturally informed, self-care behaviours to increase adherence to both pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies. The Understanding the cultural experiences of individuals with chronic heart failure (CHF) in South East Health (DISCOVER) study is an exploratory, observational study investigating health patterns, information needs and the adjustment process for overseas-born people with HF living in Australia. An integrative literature review was augmented by qualitative data derived from key informant interviews, focus groups and individual interviews. A key finding of this study is that culture provides an important context to aid interpretations of attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours, not only in illness but in health. While individual differences in attitudes and beliefs were observed among participants, common themes and issues were identified across cultural groups. Data from the DISCOVER study revealed the primacy of family and kinship ties. These relationships were important in making decisions about treatment choices and care plans. Participants also revealed the critical role of the 'family doctor' in assisting people and their families in brokering the health care system. In this study, heart disease was considered to be a significant condition but cancer was the condition that people both feared and dreaded the most, despite the high mortality rates of HF. This sample reported that religious and traditional beliefs became more important as people aged and considered their mortality. As HF is predominately a condition of ageing, the information derived from this study will assist clinicians to tailor health care service delivery for older people with HF, across multiple ethnic backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-62
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Nurse
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support of South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service Diversity Health Unit and National Health and Medical Research Council 219512 for the conduct of this study.


  • Cultural competence
  • Cultural diversity
  • DISCOVER study
  • Health seeking behaviours
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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