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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessment of atrial fibrillation patients' education needs. Salmasi, Shahrzad


Introduction: Education facilitates construction of a correct illness representation, corrects beliefs about medications and improves patients’ illness-treatment coherence. There is no consensus on the best education strategy for atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. Identifying patients’ education needs is the first step towards development of an effective education program. Purpose: The overall aim of this thesis was to provide insights into AF patients’ education needs from patient and clinician viewpoints, and to inform the design of AF patient education programs and initiatives. Methods: The current evidence on AF patients’ knowledge gaps was summarized through a literature review. This was followed by a qualitative descriptive study utilizing semi-structured interviews with patients and clinicians who were recruited through purposive sampling. All interviews were conducted by a Master of science student. The interviews were conducted in English, in a private room or over the phone, without the presence of any non-participants. Each interview lasted approximately 30 minutes and was audio-recorded. Verbatim transcripts were generated within three days of the interview. The reporting of this qualitative study conforms to the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SQRQ) and the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ). Analysis: The analysis of the data was iterative, occurring as interviews proceeded. The interview guides were revised frequently based on the emerging data. The data collected were analyzed through inductive qualitative thematic analysis. Data from patients and clinicians were analyzed independently. Results: Eleven clinicians and ten patients were interviewed. Clinician and patient interviews led to emergence of three and four themes, respectively. This research went beyond identification of knowledge gaps by offering a rich description on patients’ misconceptions, information seeking behavior, education style preferences, attitudes towards online education, expectations of an education program, emotional education needs, preferences for risk communication, and clinicians’ views on the topic. A key finding of my study was the identification of patients’ emotional education needs: the need for education that addresses patients’ concerns and relieves their anxiety. Summarizing my study findings, I offered a set of recommendations that can be used by those involved in educating AF patients.

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