Appropriate management of chronic heart failure and its signs and symptoms requires a considerable amount of participation by patients. Behavioral changes that prevent or minimize signs and symptoms and disease progression are just as important as the medications prescribed to treat the heart failure. The most difficult lifestyle changes include smoking cessation, weight loss, and restriction of dietary sodium. The Transtheoretical Model is a framework for assessing and addressing the concept of readiness for behavior change, which occurs in a 6-step process. The model consists of 3 dimensions: the stages of change, the processes of change on which interventions are based, and the action criteria for actual behavior. The stages of change are discussed, and interventions are presented to assist patients with heart failure in progressing through those stages toward maintenance of changed lifestyle behaviors. Methods for measuring the level of readiness for change of patients with heart failure are also presented, because correct staging is required before appropriate interventions matched to a patient’s stage can be delivered.

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