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  1. Vreeland, Donna G. MN, RN, CMSRN
  2. Rea, Ruth E. PhD, RN
  3. Montgomery, Linda L. MN, RN


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed changes in the health care reimbursement for patients diagnosed with heart failure (HF) if readmission to a hospital occurs within 30 days of their discharge. The Joint Commission (TJC) has identified 6 key education topics for HF patients with their families that can result in decreased readmissions. Though the patient may be too ill, critical care nurses have an opportunity to begin the discharge education process immediately with families or caregivers. This literature review discusses studies focused on discharge education in general and then those studies specific to HF discharge education. This review reports on what is known or supported by evidence within 8 major topics. Finally, the discussion section summarizes the evidence for discharge education by answering 6 questions that address the "who and when" as well as the "what" of discharge education.