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Authors

  1. Ekong, Joyce DNP, RN, CNS
  2. Radovich, Patti PhD, RN, CNS
  3. Brown, Gina PhD, RN

Abstract

The ability of home healthcare nurses to effectively educate patients with heart failure (HF) on appropriate self-care is key to lowering the hospital readmission rates and other adverse outcomes. Evidence indicates, however, that nurses often lack current knowledge about HF self-care. Furthermore, patient education often fails to produce health literacy. Thus, this educational intervention for home healthcare nurses included content about key aspects of managing HF (e.g., diet, medications), as well as how to use the teach-back method during patient education. Pre- and posttesting (using the Nurses' Knowledge of HF Education Principles Questionnaire) and role-playing were used to evaluate the intervention delivered to 33 home care nurses. Findings exposed knowledge deficits regarding high-sodium foods, symptoms indicating deterioration, problematic weight gain, fluid management, as well as other topics related to HF. The education was partially effective in addressing these nurses' knowledge gaps. The evidence-based education for home healthcare nurses suggests that not only may nurses lack knowledge essential to teaching HF self-care; they may also lack effective patient education skills such as using the teach-back method.