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J Card Fail. 2011 Oct;17(10):789-96. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2011.06.374. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

The effect of progressive, reinforcing telephone education and counseling versus brief educational intervention on knowledge, self-care behaviors and heart failure symptoms.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.



The optimal strategy for promoting self-care for heart failure (HF) is unclear.


We conducted a randomized trial to determine whether a "teach to goal" (TTG) educational and behavioral support program provided incremental benefits to a brief (1 hour) educational intervention (BEI) for knowledge, self-care behaviors, and HF-related quality of life (HFQOL). The TTG program taught use of adjusted-dose diuretics and then reinforced learning goals and behaviors with 5 to 8 telephone counseling sessions over 1 month. Participants' (n = 605) mean age was 61 years; 37% had marginal or inadequate literacy; 69% had ejection fraction <0.45; and 31% had Class III or IV symptoms. The TTG group had greater improvements in general and salt knowledge (P < .001) and greater increases in self-care behaviors (from mean 4.8 to 7.6 for TTG vs. 5.2 to 6.7 for BEI; P < .001). HFQOL improved from 58.5 to 64.6 for the TTG group but did not change for the BEI group (64.7 to 63.9; P < .001 for the difference in change scores). Improvements were similar regardless of participants' literacy level.


Telephone reinforcement of learning goals and self-care behaviors improved knowledge, health behaviors, and HF-related QOL compared to a single education session.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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