Education has long been recognized as an important component of chronic condition management. Whereas education has been evaluated in atrial fibrillation (AF) populations as part of multifaceted interventions, it has never been tested as a single entity. The aim of this review is to describe the rationale for and role of education as part of comprehensive AF management. The development and use of educational material as part of the intervention of a randomized controlled trial, the HELP-AF (Home-Based Education and Learning Program in AF) study, will be described. This study was designed to determine the impact of a home-based structured educational program on outcomes in individuals with AF. An educational resource was developed to facilitate delivery of 4 key messages targeted at empowering individuals to self-manage their condition. The key messages focused on strategies for managing future AF episodes, the role of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of AF, the appropriate use of medicines to manage stroke risk and the role of cardiovascular risk factor management in AF. To support structured educational visiting, an educational booklet titled Living Well With Atrial Fibrillation (AF) was developed by a multidisciplinary team and was further refined following input from expert clinicians and patient interviews. Using a structured educational visiting approach, education was delivered by trained clinicians within the patient's home.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation; education; hospitalization; quality of life; resources.
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