The more knowledge and better education patients have, the better they understand their disease and learn how to care for themselves. Cardiovascular disease can be overwhelming and there are many details to manage for long-term wellness. Patients need to understand what normal and abnormal heart functions are and what to do when their symptoms flare up. They must understand guidelines for taking medications safely and numerous dietary strategies. All these elements combine to make their lives better or worse depending on how they care for themselves.
What is Heart Disease?
The Mayo Clinic explains heart disease as a range of conditions that affect your heart. There are several categories along the heart disease continuum some which include, blood vessel diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), and heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects) among others.
Remember, the term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with the term "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart's muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.
There can be traumatic results from a lack of heart disease management like heart failure, heart attack, atrial fibrillation and more, but much of this can be prevented or treated with heart health best practices and cardiac rehabilitation.
Good Cardiology Patient Education Materials Can Help Prevent Serious Health Complications
Anyone with coronary artery disease or heart disease or who have a family history of heart problems can benefit from our materials. People with these issues need to let their friends and family members know they are trying to make healthy lifestyle changes so their family needs to be aware that these changes are important to them. Cardiology educators (mainly nurses and healthcare professionals) will purchase these materials for their offices and use them when teaching patients how to care for themselves after they leave the office or hospital.
What complications can arise from a lack of education?
The following risk factors are common with those who have cardiac disease:
- Age: Men at 45, women at 55 (or after menopause)
- Gender: Men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease
- Family history: People inherit their parent’s risk of disease just like they do other genetics like height or hair color.
- Tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise
- High blood sugar or diabetes
5 Things The Best Cardiology Education Materials Have
In general, patient-facing medical information can be difficult to use and understand. This is a serious issue. One of the biggest mistakes an educator can make is selecting materials that patients can’t use. Here are the biggest issues that we’ve seen in cardiac education materials:
- Materials are too hard to comprehend
- The graphics and illustrations in the materials are unclear
- There is no practical advice or tips regarding lifestyle changes for patients
- Language needs for patients are not considered
- We strongly recommend picking materials that have the following five qualities:
Easy to Read.
If the materials you select are hard to understand, patients will become discouraged in learning about their heart health and general self-care. It’s critical that you select materials that use accessible language. Patient educators will often choose material that is inexpensive (due to budget constraints) but end up with a resource that is difficult to understand, especially for younger patients with cardiac issues.
Clear Graphics and Visuals.
Patients must know things such as specific medications, cardiac ablation, pacemaker implantation, and other treatments that lead to healthy lifestyle changes. Visuals help break down the complexities of a medical condition into more easily understandable content. Poor visuals in your education materials could prevent the learning required for a healthier lifestyle. Be sure to prioritize clear graphics when choosing cardiac materials.
Certified and Updated Content.
Cardiac care changes often. As new medications are developed and methods of self-care are updated, the American Heart Association (AHA) will update their standards of care. Be sure to buy the most current version of your materials as they are often updated.
Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC) is the most common certification that the educators have but as publishers we utilize the services of:
- Cardiac Rehab Coordinators
- Cardiac nurses
- Hospital Pharmacies
- Typically, they are certified in Cardiovascular Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC).
- American Heart Association
Multiple Language Options.
A heart condition can happen to anyone. As a result, language options are important so that educators can teach people who speak different languages.
How To Get The Most Out Of The Evaluation Process
Once you have decided that you’re interested in a particular cardiac educational resource, it’s critical that you test the material before making a purchase. Never buy a medical education resource sight unseen. Here are three steps you can follow to get the most of your resource evaluation and decision-making process:
1. Request a sample kit.
Always ask for a sample of the cardiology education materials that you’re considering. This will allow you to make sure that the information is up to date, and get a better look at how the materials meet the standards of the 5 elements we’ve listed above.
2. Share the sample with your colleagues.
Involving other members of your group or organization in the evaluation process will help you get a better feel for the viability of the educational materials. They may catch issues or provide insight that allows you to make the best decision for your patients.
3. Consider pricing and availability.
The temptation educators face is choosing the cheaper materials in response to the prevalence of cardiac patients in the United States (according to the CDC about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths with about 735,000 Americans who have a heart attack every year.) It’s important to seriously consider the implications and problems that may arise from cheaper patient education materials. Additionally, we strongly advise that you determine the availability of these materials as the number of patients with heart disease increases.
Assess the vendor’s ability to partner with your organization.
Partnership ensures that your money is well spent and your materials meet the needs of your patients and coworkers. Make sure that the vendor you’re considering is responsive, attentive, and willing to answer your questions.
When patients have current cardiology information that is easy to understand, the result is better self-care, and a healthier, happier life.