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Objective To systematically review evidence for the efficacy of family-based education for heart failure (HF) patients and carers. Method A systematic review was conducted. Databases CINAHL, MEDLINE Complete, Cochrane, PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Scopus were searched between 1 January 2005 and 1 May 2015. Randomised controlled trials included HF patient and carer dyads or carers alone. The primary outcome was HF knowledge. Secondary outcomes included self-care behaviour, dietary and treatment adherence, quality of life, depression, perceived control, hospital readmissions, and carer burden. Result Six trials reported in nine papers were included. Wide variation in the quality of the studies was found. Two studies only examined HF knowledge; a significant improvement among patients and carers was reported. Other significant findings were enhanced patient self-care, boosted dietary and treatment adherence, enriched patient quality of life, improved perceived control among patients but not carers, and reduced carer burden Conclusion Modest evidence was found for family-based education among HF patients and carers. Methodological shortcomings of trials signify the need for empirically sound future research. Practice implication Family-based HF education needs to include strategies that are tailored to the HF patient and carer, and sustainable in nature.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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