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Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Dec 1;45(3):181-5.

Do general practice patients with heart failure understand its nature and seriousness, and want improved information?

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Division of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


This study describes the extent to which patients with heart failure in general practice understand the nature and seriousness of their condition, and want more or better information about it than they currently get. The study involved a random sample of 62 patients receiving care for chronic heart failure in 30 central Auckland, New Zealand, practices. The narrative texts of personal, semi-structured interviews in late 1999 were edited (explicitly and systematically reduced and reassembled) until their interpretation was complete. Approximately 40% of the patients interviewed appeared not to understand the nature and seriousness of their heart failure condition. Two patients had accidentally discovered the diagnosis from inappropriate sources. Eleven patients (18%) expressed wanting improved information about their condition. However, to avoid harm, we did not ask patients about wants for information relating to the seriousness of their heart failure. Through patient education and counselling, providers could help patients to produce an advance written directive of wants for information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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