Site Home   Gender and Heart Failure       Introduction to Gender and Health   The Gender Lens Tool



Treatment compliance is a bigger issue with elderly patients than with younger ones. Why do you think that is?

Surprisingly, computers have been shown to be particularly useful in educating elderly patients about CHF, and about the benefits of self-management programs. One study showed that patients retained more knowledge when they were educated with a nurse and a computer than with a nurse alone [4]. This has been attributed to the fact that the elderly often have lower literacy levels than the general population, and tend to benefit from educational scenarios utilizing individualized, interactive environments, where there is no pressure, or potential for embarrassment [1][2].


Morrow, et al. (2005) [3] showed that there is serious potential for improvement in prescription compliance in elderly patients through writing up instructions more suited to those with potential literacy limitations or cognitive impairment. Typical prescription instructions are in small print, use complex language and are difficult to understand. This study proved that by using simpler language, larger print, and graphics that elderly patients were better able to understand their prescriptions and remembered to take their medications more often. This is especially important when patients are on multiple medications.




1. Pernotto D, Bairnsfather L, Sodeman W.‘Informed consent’ interactive videodisc for patients having a colonoscopy, a polypectomy and an endoscopy.Medinfo 1995;8:1699.

2. Stromberg A, Ahlen H, Fridlund B, Dahlstrom U.Interactive education on CD-ROM—a new tool in education of heart failure patients.Patient Educ Couns 2002;46:75 –81.

3. Morrow DG, Weiner M, Young J, Steinley D, Deer M, Murray MD. Improving Medication Knowledge Amoung Older Adults With Heart Failure: A Patient-Centered Approach to Instruction Design. The Gerontologist. 2005;45(4):545-552.

4. Stro¨mberg A, Dahlstro¨m U, Fridlund B.Computer -based education for patients with chronic heart failure.A randomized, controlled, multicentre study of the effects on knowledge, compliance and quality of life wsubmittedx.

All references for this section