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Patients with chronic heart failure do better when they receive thorough discharge information from a nurse-educator, according to a new study. Those who received a 1-hour discharge teaching session with a nurse-educator spent fewer days in the hospital subsequently, and fewer of them died. These patients also took better care of themselves after discharge than those who received standard discharge information.


Researchers randomly assigned 223 patients with systolic heart failure to receive either the standard discharge process or a 1-hour, one-on-one teaching session with a nurse-educator. The standard process involved giving patients a folder of written information and possibly a consultation with a resident or staff physician, nurse, or dietitian. Researchers contacted all patients by telephone 30, 90, and 180 days after discharge to collect information about clinical events, symptoms, and self-care practices.


Death or hospital readmission occurred with 47% of patients who received the 1-hour teaching session, compared with 64% of those who received the standard discharge process. For the hospital, the special educational sessions were economical too, costing $2,823 less per patient than the standard process due to the reduction in readmissions.




Discharge education improves clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure, Circulation, TM Koelling, et al., January 18, 2005.