What patients want and need to know about atrial fibrillation
Pamela J McCabe
Saint Mary's Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
Abstract: Clinicians in a variety of settings are called upon to care for patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF), a common chronic condition that affects up to 3 million people in the USA. Evidence-based guidelines provide clinicians with direction for treatment of AF, but recommended content for educating patients and counseling about self-management of AF is not included in published guidelines. When patients believe they have a good understanding of AF they report fewer symptoms, perceive greater control over AF, and attribute less emotional distress to AF. Thus, providing patients with information about AF and how to manage it is important for promoting positive outcomes. The purpose of this article is to offer evidence-based recommendations for content to include in self-management education and counseling for patients with AF. Approaches for educating and counseling patients related to AF pathophysiology, the nature of AF (its cause, consequences, and trajectory), treatments, action plans, and symptom management, and managing the psychosocial challenges of living with AF, are discussed.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation, patient education, self-management education, counseling
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