Background Hope is seldom described in patients with heart failure, despite high morbidity and mortality for this population.

Objectives To describe hope in hospitalized patients with heart failure and to evaluate influences of demographic and health-related variables on hope.

Methods Ninety-three patients with heart failure and 441 healthy control subjects completed questionnaires about sociodemographics, health indices, disease severity, and the Herth Hope Index.

Results The patients with heart failure had a mean age of 75 years; 65% were men, and 47% lived alone. Lung diseases and diabetes were the most common comorbid diseases, with 58% classified as New York Heart Association class III. The mean global hope score among patients with heart failure was 37.69 (SD 5.3). Patients with skin (P = .01) and psychiatric (P = .02) disorders reported lower hope scores. Number of comorbid diseases was the only predictor of hope related to disease-specific variables (P = .01). Mean age of the control subjects was 60 years, and 66 (15%) lived alone. Once demographic variables were controlled for, patients with heart failure had significantly higher global hope scores than did control subjects.

Conclusions Adaptation to a life-threatening illness may induce a “response shift” that causes such patients to have more hope than the general population. Patients with heart failure may be more concerned with the past than the future. How patients judge their health and satisfaction with life influences their hope. Interventions supporting hope in patients with heart failure may influence treatment goals.

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