A Culturally Appropriate Educational Intervention Can Improve Self-Care in Hispanic Patients With Heart Failure: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
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Background: Hispanics constitute the largest US ethnic group and have been shown to have more frequent heart failure (HF) hospitalizations than non-Hispanic whites. Disease management programs can reduce HF hospitalizations and mortality by increasing patient self-care, but most programs are limited to patients who speak English. Therefore, we hypothesize that Project Fluido, a culturally appropriate self-care education intervention, will improve self-care behaviors and knowledge in Hispanic patients with HF compared with usual care (UC). Methods: Project Fluido (N = 42) was a randomized controlled pilot trial over 3 months. Patients in the experimental group (n = 22) received individualized education in Spanish using the “teach-back” method on the following: high salt foods, when to call the physician, when to report weight gain and the use of diuretics. They also received a nurse-initiated phone call every 2 weeks, a script for calling their physician with increased symptoms, a weight scale and a daily diary to complete. The UC group (n = 20) received a scale and written information. Self-care was measured using the self-care heart failure index and knowledge using teach-back scores. Four knowledge topics were included when using teach-back. Results: Participants’ mean age was 57 ± 14 years, 57% (24) were male, 64% (27) had hypertension, 86% (36) were New York Heart Association Class I-III and 65% (26) had HF with reduced ejection fraction. Participant health literacy scores showed poor health literacy in 31% (n = 13) and 67% (n = 28) spoke Spanish only. Household income was reported as < $20,000 in 93% (n = 39). Self-care and knowledge scores significantly improved (P < 0.04 and P < 0.02, respectively) in the intervention group compared to UC. Conclusion: The intervention utilized in Project Fluido was a remarkably effective method to improve self-care and HF knowledge in a group of Spanish-speaking HF patients. This improvement is in spite of low physical function, health literacy, acculturation and economic challenges. In addition, teach-back was an effective teaching strategy to improve HF knowledge. Future work is needed to investigate the relationship between increased self-care knowledge, readmissions, and mortality in Spanish-speaking patients with HF.