Starr Young


Heart Failure Knowledge in Rural Patients: Implications for Patient Education

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to utilize the Atlanta Heart Failure Knowledge Test (AHFKT) to assess heart failure (HF) patient knowledge among the rural population and apply the results to improve HF patient education.

Methods: Using a descriptive design, current HF knowledge of patients in two rural counties in North Florida were examined based on whether they were readmitted within 30-days. Patients with HF (n=22) admitted to one of two participating hospitals with a diagnosis or history of HF completed the AHFKT to assess patient HF knowledge. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: The average overall score for the AHFKT was 67.27%. Follow up telephone calls were completed 30-days after the AHFKT was administered and participants self-reported readmission status within that 30-day time frame. Out of the 22 participants, four (18.18%) were readmitted. The average overall AHFKT score of participants readmitted was 74.17% compared to 65.74% for those not readmitted.

Discussion: Scoring lower than 80% on the AHFKT suggests a deficiency in HF knowledge. Only three out of the 22 participants scored higher than 80% and the overall average for the sample was below this marker. Although it is thought that a decrease in knowledge leads to readmissions, the data was unable to demonstrate this finding.

Conclusion: The findings of this study show a deficiency in patient HF knowledge in all key areas tested. This demonstrates a need to improve patient HF knowledge starting at initial diagnosis and continuing throughout disease progression. An education toolkit was created based on the knowledge gaps observed.

Major Professor: Lucinda J. Graven, PhD, APRN, FAHA






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