Long-term Benefits of Patient Education - in a Patient Perspective

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Anna Katrine Meyer Kristensen
  • Martin Serup Juul Hansen
  • Mette Hedelund
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)

The number of people living with a chronic disease in Denmark is increasing. Furthermore, it is estimated
that 70-80% of the resources spent on health-care are related to people with chronic diseases. Patient-di-
rected prevention through patient education represents one type of approach aimed at managing chronic
diseases. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the long-term effects of patient education. The impact
of patient education has only been studied in a relatively short term which is a paradox given the often life-
long consequences of chronic disease.

The main aim of this thesis is to investigate whether participants in patient education experience long-term
benefits in their everyday lives. Furthermore, the aim is to investigate the participants’ propositions in regard
to sustaining the long-term benefits of the patient education in order to modify the existing program. Finally,
examine how everyday life theory may help to understand the benefits of patient education and support
changing potential.

Through a systematic review of the literature national and international research, covering long-term bene-
fits of patient education were identified. Furthermore, an empirical study consisting of eight semi-structured
interviews was conducted. All informants took part in patient education during 2012 or 2013.
Finally, a theoretical analysis of the informants’ perceived benefits and the proposed change initiatives was
conducted based on Birte Bech-Joergensen's theory of everyday life.

The review of the literature indicate that the participants in patient education after a year still experiences
enhanced control, enhanced ability to take care of oneself , increased physical activity and social benefits in
their everyday life. The qualitative interview shows that the informants primarily experiences benefits related
to physical activity and diet. Furthermore several informants experiences social benefits, while especially
participants diagnosed with COPD also experiences mental benefits of the patient education.
In relation to the further development of the patient education, the interview shows that the participants
primarily are asking for more practical cooking lessons and an expansion of the existing exercise program.
The result of theoretical analysis shows that the long-term benefits of patient education can be seen as a
result of the changes in everyday life caused by the chronic disease. Patient education can in relation to this
be seen as a meaningful way of managing the disease. Through intentional management and modification of
daily habits, the informants adjust their everyday to the life with chronic disease.

The results of the thesis shows a clear tendency toward participants in patient education experiencing long-
term benefits in relation to e.g. physical activity, diet and different mental aspects.
The continuation of an exercise program similar to the current would probably contribute to the retention
of the long-term benefits of the participants. The theoretical analysis of the thesis shows that the long-term
benefits of patient education can largely be interpreted as a result of the informants' intentional and unrec-
ognized handling of chronic disease and everyday habits as a condition. In continuation hereof patient edu-
cation presumably have long-term benefits because participants experiences the education as meaningful.
Publication date30 May 2015
Number of pages114
External collaboratorFolkesundhed Aarhus
Leder for Sundhedsforløbene Anja Fynbo Christiansen anfy@aarhus.dk
Information group
ID: 213272962