Existentially Oriented Group Intervention for Patients With Heart Failure: Intervention Development and Preliminary Assessment

Noa Vilchinsky, Yaffit Horowitz, Eran Bar-Kalifa, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Tatiana Berlin, Morris Mosseri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with heart failure (HF) cope with a chronic, life-threatening, particularly disabling medical condition. Their well-being is considered to be at a greater risk than that of patients with any other cardiovascular disease, and their psychological distress is associated with a worse prognosis. These patients are often preoccupied with existential concerns such as fear of death, loneliness, and a loss of sense of meaning. However, there is a dearth of literature regarding psychological interventions that address these issues among this population. Aims: We, the authors of the current pilot study, present the development and initial implementation of a novel protocol: "existentially oriented group intervention for patients with heart failure." Our aims were to test the intervention's feasibility, as well as to explore patients' subjective experience of it. Methods: The intervention (consisting of seven 1-hour weekly sessions) was applied to 2 consecutive groups. Twelve patients coping with HF levels III and IV - according to the New York Heart Association classification - from a hospital-based HF clinic participated. The Narrative Evaluation of Intervention Interview was applied. Results: Although high dropout levels were detected, the patients who fully participated in the program reported on satisfaction and progress in the following 4 domains: personal growth, social support, self-worth, and mastery. Conclusions: On the basis of our preliminary findings, the "existentially oriented group intervention for patients with heart failure" is recommended to be further tested among patients coping with HF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • NEII
  • chronic illnesses
  • existentialism
  • group intervention
  • heart failure
  • patient-provider communication
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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