Healthcare practices and interventions in Europe towards families of older patients with cardiovascular disease: a scoping review

Romy Mahrer-Imhof, Birte Ostergaard, Anne Brodsgaard, Hanne Konradsen, Erla Kolbrun-Svavarsdottir, Karin Dieperink, Lorenz Imhof, Cristina García-Vivar, Marie Louise Luttik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: In Europe, cardiovascular disease is one of the predominant causes of mortality and morbidity among older people over 65 years. The occurrence of cardiovascular disease can have a negative impact on the quality of life of older patients and their families and family health overall. Assuming that illness is a family affair shaped by culture and health care systems, we explored European health care practices and interventions toward families of older patients with cardiovascular disease and heart failure.
Aims: This paper aimed to determine the extent, range, and variety of practices and interventions in Europe directed to families of older patients and to identify knowledge gaps.
Materials & Methods: A scoping review was conducted including studies published in Medline, CINHAL, or Cochrane library between 2009 and mid-2020.
Results: A total of 22 articles from 17 studies were included, showing diverse practices and interventions. The interventions targeted the family as a unit (six studies), dyads (five studies), patients alone, but assessed family members’ reactions (five studies) or the family member primarily, but assessed the reaction of the patient (one study). Target outcomes were family caregiver burden; health-related QoL; and perceived control in patients; and family functioning and changes in health behavior or knowledge in both, family members and patients. Most studies did not include an integral view of the family as the unit of care but rather had a disease-centered approach.
Discussion: This scoping review provides insight into a variety of healthcare
practices towards families of older patients with cardiovascular disease in Europe. Clarifying underlying assumptions to involve families is needed. More studies with family-focused approaches as integral models could lead to practices that improve families’ well-being. Exploring integral models for their acceptance in health care and family systems appears pertinent to develop European policy to support and add to family health.
Original languageDutch
Number of pages26
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • gezondheidspraktijken
  • hart- en vaatziekten
  • gezinsverpleging

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