Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Mandy Meyer


Caregivers -- education; Heart Failure; Occupational therapy -- methods; Quality of Life


The purpose of this scholarly project was to develop a holistic guide that could be provided by occupational therapists (OTs) to caregivers of individuals with heart failure (HF). A thorough literature review was completed on the impact that caregiving for individuals with HF has on mental, physical and environmental aspects of the caregiver and their role as a caregiver. The literature revealed that there is a significant number of individuals with HF and the role of caregiving is on the rise. As the need for caregivers’ increases, the demands associated with caregiving responsibilities increases accordingly. Activities that caregivers assist HF patients with are: bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding, medical health, home care, financial assistance, and medication assistance. The current literature lacks information pertaining ways caregivers received and utilized resources to improve quality of life while caring for an individual with HF. Based on the unmet needs of caregivers of individuals with HF, Happy Hearts: A Caregiver Guide to Assisting Patients with Heart Failure was created.

Guided by the Person-Environment-Occupation Model, this guide addresses the transactive interaction between the person, environment and occupation and strives to achieve the best fit between those components. The Adult Learning Theory was also considered in the creation of this guide as it presents concepts that assist with the most effective methods of learning for adults. By using this model, it provided a way for the information to be followed and easily understood by caregivers of various educational levels.

Within this caregiver guide, the following areas are addressed: the definition and stages of HF, the role of the caregiver, the role of healthcare professionals, the physical and mental factors that influence caregiving, optimizing the caregiver’s environment, and maximizing efficiency in the caregiver role. A supplemental guide was created to demonstrate how OTs can educate and assist caregivers of HF in their everyday lives. Overall, this guide was created to find the best fit between the caregiver’s health and caring for the individual with HF.