Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 July 2008
The number of adults with congenitally malformed hearts is growing, and there is an increasing demand for their continuous follow-up. At present, different programmes have been established for adults with congenital cardiac disease, but there is a lack of knowledge regarding how education and psychosocial support should be given to achieve effects. Before developing educational programmes, it is necessary to be aware of the perspective of the patients. The aim of our study, therefore, was to describe how adults with congenitally malformed hearts experience their educational needs.
The study had a qualitative design. We interviewed 16 adults, aged from 19 to 55 years, with congenitally malformed hearts.
Two-way communication emerged as crucial to individualising education. Without good communication, those with congenitally malformed hearts, receiving information from providers of healthcare, are unable to transfer the information received. Thus, individualised education gives access to knowledge and the tools required to manage important areas in life, such as the congenital cardiac malformation, physical activity, the situation of life, treatment, and resources available for healthcare. The information given should provide easy access to knowledge through proper educational materials and methods, and be given with respect for the individual. This is facilitated if the education is tailored to the requirements of the individual in a holistic approach, and is provided through good communication.
Our investigation shows that a structured educational programme needs to start from the perspective of the individual patient, and that two-way communication needs to be taken into consideration to enhance knowledge.
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