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BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 532

Assessing educational needs of potential hepatitis C patients at a Veterans Affairs medical center


Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Correspondence Address:
A R Jennings
Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 22267347

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major public health threat throughout the world because of its ability to lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and need for liver transplant. Findings from studies have illustrated that levels of knowledge and awareness are low among those populations most affected by hepatitis C. The purpose of this descriptive pilot study was to assess the educational needs of potential hepatitis C patients at a Veterans Administration (VA) medical center. Few studies have identified the educational strategies preferred among patients who are diagnosed with hepatitis C. Methods: Potential hepatitis C patients in this study are defined as those individuals who had laboratory tests indicating abnormal liver enzymes and liver function tests. A survey 'Assessing Educational Needs of Potential Hepatitis C Patients' included 13 questions relating to the educational needs of this population. Results: A total of 152 patients completed the survey over a period of six months. The participants from the study did not agree that there was adequate educational material available to them in the hepatitis C clinic (71%). Out of the several educational delivery methods listed, presentations given by healthcare professionals to a large group of people were most popular at 36.2%. Participants (61%) would be interested in joining a support group and 56% felt comfortable receiving advice from health care professionals via a computer. The topic that participants would most like to learn about was living with hepatitis C. Conclusion: Assessing educational needs of potential hepatitis C patients provides a starting point in the discussion of how healthcare professionals can best deliver education. It is important to note that hepatitis C patients worldwide have a high degree of heterogeneity based upon their differing comorbid conditions, which would warrant specialized educational programs with the utilization of a variety of educational strategies.


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