Healthcare providers should individualize patient education

June 19, 2017

Effective patient education includes more than brochures and written patient information. It should be tailored to a patient's ability to understand recommendations to help them manage their health and control their risk factors, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published in the Association's journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The statement encourages healthcare professionals to use a multi-faceted approach to help and their families learn healthy habits after a heart attack or if they have high , atrial fibrillation or heart failure.

"As hospital stays and clinic visits get shorter, the responsibility for patient management has increasingly shifted to patients and their families," said Susan Barnason, Ph.D., R.N., lead author of the statement and professor of nursing practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln.

"Patient education can't be one-size-fits-all. It needs to meet the patients where they are, so clinicians need to assess their patients' health literacy and cognitive skills, and include family and other caregivers when needed," Barnason said.

The statement recommends a collaborative approach between , the patient and their family. For example, a regular follow-up call from a nurse could be helpful for a patient struggling to make choices. Registered dieticians or health coaches can help patients solve barriers to healthy lifestyle changes. Nurses can provide brief self-management support and training for patients in regular medical visits.

"Tell your provider if you don't understand your condition or you are unclear about the plan to help you manage it. Your physician may schedule an extended or follow-up visit, or may ask the nurse to answer your immediate questions," Barnason said.

Technological advances, such as such as apps that allow people to measure and monitor blood pressure or track and remind them to take their medication, may make it easier and more engaging for patients to monitor their health and communicate the results with their healthcare providers.

"We can't make you take your pills or check your blood pressure or blood sugar. Some of the new technologies help it become more real - instead of just putting numbers on a piece of paper you can see the trends and get a better picture of how you're doing." Barnason said.

Explore further: Good communication helps improve outcomes for heart patients

More information: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes (2017). DOI: 10.1161/HCQ.0000000000000025

Related Stories

Good communication helps improve outcomes for heart patients

April 3, 2017
Patients with hardened arteries who reported good communication with their healthcare providers were less likely to use the emergency room and more likely to comply with their treatment plans, according to a new study presented ...

Physicians should counsel patients about sex life after cardiac event

July 29, 2013
Healthcare professionals are urged to counsel heart and stroke patients on how to resume a healthy sex life, according to a joint statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation and the European ...

Understanding a heart patients' quality of life can improve outcomes

May 6, 2013
Completing a quality-of-life questionnaire at a healthcare provider's office could help patients live longer and live better, according to a new scientific statement published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart ...

How a nurse's smart phone could prevent stroke

September 2, 2016
One in four strokes – Australia's second largest cause of death and disability – is caused by atrial fibrillation (AF) or irregular heartbeat. Those strokes will be often larger, more severe and with worse outcomes, but ...

Many drugs can cause or worsen heart failure, cautions new statement

July 11, 2016
Commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure, according to the first scientific statement from the American Heart Association to provide guidance on avoiding drug-drug or drug-condition ...

Palliative care barriers must be addressed for heart/stroke patients

August 9, 2016
A new policy statement on palliative care, issued today by the American Heart Association, highlights how critical this care is to Americans with heart disease or stroke, and makes recommendations on how to address the current ...

Recommended for you

Researchers closer to understanding how a drug could induce health benefits of exercise

August 24, 2017
The research team - led by the University of Leeds - has found that a protein called Piezo1 in the lining of blood vessels is able to detect a change in blood flow during exercise.

New type of MRI scan developed to predict stroke risk

August 24, 2017
Researchers at the University of Oxford have developed a new type of MRI scan to predict the risk of having a stroke, thanks to funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Two studies support intensive blood pressure control for long-term health, quality of life

August 23, 2017
Two studies provide additional support for lowering systolic blood pressure to an intensive goal of 120 mmHg - far below the standard guidelines of 140 mmHg - to reduce the risk of heart disease in high-risk patients with ...

Brain activity may be predictor of stress-related cardiovascular risk

August 23, 2017
The brain may have a distinctive activity pattern during stressful events that predicts bodily reactions, such as rises in blood pressure that increase risk for cardiovascular disease, according to new proof-of-concept research ...

Dramatic new studies into inflammation in the infarcted heart could lead to changes in therapy

August 23, 2017
A medical research collaborative has demonstrated that the response of the human heart to an infarction is very different than previously thought. The study, led by cardiologist Borja Ibáñez and published as two independent ...

'Shapeshifter' that regulates blood clotting is visually captured for the first time

August 23, 2017
We are normally born with a highly sophisticated array of molecules that act as "sentries," constantly scanning our bodies for injuries such as cuts and bruises. One such molecular sentry, known as von Willebrand factor (VWF), ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.