In this study the authors sought both to understand the health education needs of patients with glaucoma, with particular regard to adherence to glaucoma treatment, and to examine these patients’ views of group education.
Using a health promotion approach to health education, 27 qualitative interviews with new and established patients receiving glaucoma treatment were conducted. Health promotion is defined as a way of strengthening people’s capacities to control and optimize their own health. The interviews were transcribed and were then analyzed thematically
Nine categories of health education needs were identified from the transcripts: (1) to understand glaucoma; (2) to understand their diagnosis or understand the difficulties in giving a diagnosis; (3) to understand the implications of eye drops, their side effects, and how to renew the eye drops; (4) to feel confident to put in eye drops; (5) to put the condition into perspective - to know how to manage their risk; (6) to be able to ask questions of clinicians; (7) to be able to navigate the health care system; (8) to understand and be able to manage own adherence behavior; and (9) to know where to access other sources of information. The majority of patients had something positive to say about group education, and about half of the patients said they would attend group education if they were offered the opportunity.
A health promotion approach identified a wide range of patient-centered health education needs regarding adherence to glaucoma treatment. Group education will be attractive to some patients. Clinicians could use the health education needs identified in this study to guide the development of either individual or group-based educational intervention to improve adherence to glaucoma treatment. However, clinicians need to be aware that when developing a group intervention, attention will need to be given to making the education relevant to the circumstances of each patient.