Discharge education improves clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure

Todd M Koelling, Monica L Johnson, Robert J Cody, Keith D Aaronson
Circulation 2005 January 18, 111 (2): 179-85

BACKGROUND: Although interventions combining patient education and postdischarge management have demonstrated benefits in patients with chronic heart failure, the benefit attributable to patient education alone is not known. We hypothesized that a patient discharge education program would improve clinical outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 223 systolic heart failure patients and compared the effects of a 1-hour, one-on-one teaching session with a nurse educator to the standard discharge process. Subjects were contacted by telephone at 30, 90, and 180 days to collect information about clinical events, symptoms, and self-care practices. The primary end point of the study was the total number of days hospitalized or dead in the 180-day follow-up period. Subjects randomized to receive the teaching session (n=107) had fewer days hospitalized or dead in the follow-up period (0 and 10 days, median and 75th percentiles) than did controls (n=116, 4 and 19 days; P=0.009). Patients receiving the education intervention had a lower risk of rehospitalization or death (relative risk, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.45 to 0.93; P=0.018). Costs of care, including the cost of the intervention, were lower in patients receiving the education intervention than in control subjects by 2823 dollars per patient (P=0.035).

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of a 1-hour, nurse educator-delivered teaching session at the time of hospital discharge resulted in improved clinical outcomes, increased self-care measure adherence, and reduced cost of care in patients with systolic heart failure.

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