Aim. The aim of this study was to evaluate a heart failure education programme developed for patients and carers in Thailand. Background. Heart failure is major health problem. This is the first trial of a family-based education programme for heart failure patients and carers residing in rural Thailand. Design. Randomized controlled trial. Methods. One hundred patient-carer dyads attending cardiac clinics in southern Thailand from April 2014 - March 2015 were randomized to usual care (n = 50) or a family-based education programme (n = 50) comprising face-to-face counselling, a heart failure manual and DVD and telephone support. Assessments of heart failure knowledge, health-related quality of life, self-care behaviours and perceived control were conducted at baseline, three and six months. Results. Linear mixed-effects model revealed that patients and carers who received the education programme had higher knowledge scores at three and six months than those who received usual care. Among those who received the education programme, when compared with those who received usual care, patients had better self-care maintenance and confidence, and health-related quality of life scores at three and six months, and better self-care management scores at six months, whereas carers had higher perceived control scores at three months. Conclusion. Addressing a significant service gap in rural Thailand, this family-based heart failure programme improved patient knowledge, self-care behaviours and health-related quality of life and carer knowledge and perceived control.