Patient Education Patient Education

Education for patients is routinely incorporated into cardiac rehabilitation and heart failure (HF) management programs. The aim of education is to assist patients to obtain knowledge and skills to facilitate the development of behaviours to improve their health outcomes.[#falvo-dr.-2011] Patient education incorporates planned learning activities that promote self-care behaviours to assist patients to maintain their own life, health and well-being.

Educational interventions are successful in reducing morbidity and health care utilisation and improving patients' knowledge and self-efficacy.[#tooth-l-refshauge-k.-2006]

Knowles, the founder of adult learning theory, highlighted six principles that guide adult education.[#knowles-m-holton-e-swanson-r.-2005]

  1. Need to know: Explain the benefits of what the patient is being asked to learn; base the educational experience on a needs assessment and adjust it to meet the patient’s needs
  2. Self-directed approach: Involve the patient in the design and delivery of the educational experience; build confidence by helping set achievable goals
  3. Prior experiences influence learning: Assess the patient’s existing knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs, to individualise the educational experience
  4. Readiness to learn: Determine what the patient already knows and what they need to know
  5. Problem-centred approach to learning: Provide practical 'how-to' information and opportunities for practice and application; provide a supportive environment; use a variety of media
  6. Motivation to learn: Plan for direct application of learning; give feedback on progress

Cultural differences in education

Clinicians need to understand the norms and shared values of the patient’s culture to implement effective patient education.[#falvo-dr.-2011] Knowledge of the patient’s culture is therefore critical to delivering patient education.[#miller-m-stoeckel-p.-2011]

Key points:

  • Assess the patient’s perceptions and beliefs
  • Incorporate the patient’s beliefs and practices
  • Conduct patient education in a culturally appropriate manner
  • Use interpreter services, if appropriate
  • Translate written materials, if appropriate
  • Use multimedia resources
  • Falvo DR. Effective patient education: a guide to increased compliance (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 2011.

  • Tooth L, Refshauge K. The effectiveness of client education: a review of the evidence and future challenges. In McKenna, K, Tooth, L (Eds.). Client Education: A partnership approach for health practitioners. Chapter 3. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing. 2006.

  • Knowles M, Holton E, Swanson R. The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development (6th ed.). London: Elsevier. 2005.

  • Miller M, Stoeckel P. Client Education: Theory and Practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 2011.