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Family-based education may improve knowledge and mental well-being among heart failure patients and their caregivers

Srisuk N, Cameron J, Ski CF, et al.  Heart failure family-based education: A systematic review Patient Education and Counseling. 2015.

Review question

Does family-based heart failure education lead to improved knowledge, mental well-being, and development of self-care skills for heart failure patients and caregivers?


Heart failure is a major chronic health problem associated with high rates of mortality, symptom burden and hospitalization. The majority of heart failure management is dependent on self-care outside of the hospital system.

Heart failure patients and caregivers require self-care education, and they often struggle to incorporate self-care into their daily lives.

Family-based education could help heart failure patients and caregivers to ensure well-being outside of the hospital, however, insufficient evidence is available to confirm whether it is effective.

How the review was done

A detailed search of several electronic databases for studies published from 2005 to 2015 was conducted. Studies that focused on targeting both heart failure patients and their caregivers in either inpatient or outpatient settings were included in the review.

A total of 745 articles were identified in searches, and six studies reported in nine articles were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.

The authors did not acknowledge any funding sources for this review.

What the researchers found

Family-based education can improve knowledge about heart failure among patients and caregivers, with modest improvements in mental well-being, but more evidence is required to determine its effectiveness for developing self-care skills.

The review suggests that heart failure education is best when tailored to the learning needs of the patient, although more evidence is required to determine optimal education strategies.

Family-based heart failure education through structured telephone conversation may improve self-care knowledge in patients and caregivers, as it addresses long-term learning needs and overcomes geographical barriers.


This review found that family-based heart failure education may be a promising method to improve knowledge in both patients and caregivers, with modest improvements in their mental well-being. More evidence is required to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach in developing self-care skills and to identify optimal education strategies. Further higher-quality research is also required to confirm the effectiveness of family-based heart failure education.

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