Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion. However, one of the studies appeared to be a cohort study. Where stated, the duration of follow-up in the included studies ranged from 12 weeks to over 4 years.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of non-pharmacological interventions, in a community setting, were eligible for inclusion. The interventions were either multidisciplinary or nurse-led, and were of at least 1 month in duration. In the included studies, education related to drugs regimens, diet, exercise, self-monitoring and management. In some studies the intervention was initiated within a hospital setting.
Participants included in the review
Studies on people with heart failure were eligible for inclusion. All participants were on pharmacological treatment. In the included studies, where stated, the proportion of participants with more serious heart failure (New York Heart Association class III or IV) ranged from 35 to 97%, the mean ages from 56 to 77 years, and the proportion of men from 43 to 96%.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The main outcomes of interest were hospital readmissions and quality of life. Other outcomes presented in the individual studies were length of hospital stay, deaths, patient satisfaction, functional status, costs and adherence to treatment plan.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.