Family and Friends to the Rescue: Experiences of Rural Elders With Heart Failure

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The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of rural community-dwelling older adults with heart failure who required assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental ADLs (IADLs). The context of the study was a rural area in a southern U.S. state. Twenty older adults with ADL/IADL needs living in the rural area were recruited during hospitalization and interviewed in their homes after discharge. The semi-structured interview focused on ADLs/IADLs and community resources. This qualitative descriptive study used hermeneutic methods for analysis. Four themes were identified: Accepting Limitations, Disappointments and Unmet Expectations, Figure It Out, and Complex Connections. The findings indicate that despite the older adults’ medical conditions, they were able to set up complex arrangements, which allowed them to remain in their homes. Understanding the help older adults require after discharge will assist nurses in developing programs that are available, accessible, and acceptable to older adults who live in rural areas.