Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Cynthia S. Jacelon

Second Advisor

Joan P.Roche

Third Advisor

Carol Bigelow

Subject Categories

Health and Medical Administration | Nursing


Individuals with heart failure (HF) are often readmitted within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. Telehealth has been developed to help manage HF during this critical period. However, association of telehealth with improved HF outcomes is still unclear. There is a need to identify the patients who benefit most from telehealth and explore factors that work in conjunction with telehealth to improve HF outcomes. Therefore the purpose of this study was to explore the patient characteristic factors that impact health status and healthcare utilization outcomes of patients with HF who use telehealth in a homecare setting.

A descriptive, correlational study design using retrospective chart review was employed. The sample comprised Medicare patients admitted to a New England homecare agency, with HF as a diagnosis and had used telehealth from 2008 to 2010. OASIS and electronic documentation at the homecare agency served as data sources. Descriptive statistics, logistic and multiple regression analysis were used to analyze association of patient demographic, psychosocial status, and disease characteristics with HF outcomes of patients on telehealth.

The sample size was 403, of whom 70% were over 75 years of age, 55% were female, and 94% were Caucasian. Number of nursing contacts ranged 1 to 26 with a median value of 10. There were 118 (29.3%) all-cause readmissions, 76 cardiac-related hospitalizations (18.9%), 17 cases with mortality (4.2%) and 52 (12.7%) abrupt terminations of telehealth. For patients with HF on telehealth, patient characteristics such as: anxiety, high number of medications, acute cardiac events, musculoskeletal, psychiatric and anemia type of co-morbidity were associated with high nursing utilization patterns; dyspnea, high number of medications, obesity, ACEI/ARB and beta-blockers were associated with hospitalizations; and renal, psychiatric and cancer type of co-morbidities and female gender were associated with unplanned termination of telehealth. Abrupt termination of telehealth was also found to be correlated with hospitalizations. The findings of this study contribute to our understanding of healthcare utilization by patients with heart failure on telehealth.