The aim was to investigate if family members of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) increased knowledge about CHF through a group-based multi-professional educational programme and whether there was an effect on patients' health care utilization.
Family members (n=128) were randomly assigned to intervention-group (IG) who received CHF education programme or control-group (CG) who received information according to hospital routines. Programme effects were evaluated with CHF knowledge questionnaire, patient readmissions and number of days hospitalised during 18 months.
Knowledge about CHF increased in both groups, significantly higher in IG at second assessment (IG 16±1.9 vs. CG 14.9±2.1, p=0.006), and knowledge maintained at third assessment. In IG 17 patients were re-admitted at least once and 28 patients in CG due to CHF (p=0.085). There were no differences in frequency of readmissions or number of days hospitalised.
A group-based multi-professional education programme increased family members' knowledge about CHF. Despite this, effect on patient's health care utilization could not be seen during follow-up period.
We suggest that CHF education programmes for family members should be provided at clinics, with information preferably repeated 2-3 times during a period of six months to maintain knowledge level.
2011. Vol. 85, no 2, e162-e168 p.