Patient preferences for heart failure education and perceptions of patient-provider communication

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 2020
Issue Date:
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Objective: For people managing chronic illness, such as heart failure, adequate health literacy is crucial to understand the complex information that underpins self-care, yet evidence suggests poor understanding in this patient population. To better understand patients’ heart failure comprehension and why knowledge gaps may exist, this study sought to explore perceptions of patient–provider communication and ascertain unmet educational needs and preferences. Methods: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 symptomatic inpatients with heart failure. Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously until saturation was reached. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Participants relied heavily on providers for HF information and support, expressed numerous unmet educational needs and had mixed feelings about quality of communication. Participants expressed the need for credible, tailored heart failure information that accounted for comorbid conditions and preference for face-to-face information delivery. Knowledge gaps included heart failure pharmacotherapy, symptom appraisal and management, cause and chronicity of heart failure, and a specific action plan for heart failure symptom exacerbation. Barriers to effective patient–provider communication included providers using complex medical terminology, lack of adequately detailed information, relationships that did not foster open communication and participants’ memory problems. Conclusion: Gaps in knowledge and poor communication may indicate inadequate availability of multidisciplinary heart failure management programmes and/or fidelity to guideline recommendations. Practice implications: Evaluating heart failure management programmes is important to ensure consistent delivery of best-practice education and care. Nurses play a key role in the delivery of patient-focused health information.
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