The effect of heart failure nurse consultations on heart failure patients’ illness beliefs, mood and quality of life over a six-month period

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Abstract

Aims and Objectives.

To explore the effect contact with a heart failure nurse can have on patients' illness beliefs, mood and quality of life.

Background.

There is growing interest in patients' illness beliefs and the part they play in a patients understanding of chronic disease.

Design.

Secondary analysis on two independent datasets. Patients were recruited from five UK hospitals, four in London and one in Sussex. Patients were recruited from an inpatient and outpatient setting. The first dataset recruited 174 patients with newly diagnosed heart failure, whilst the second dataset recruited 88 patients with an existing diagnosis of heart failure.

Methods.

Patients completed the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Illness Perception Questionnaire and the Treatment Representations Inventory at baseline and six months. We used a linear regression model to assess the association that contact with a heart failure nurse had on mood, illness beliefs and quality of life over a six-month period.

Results.

Patients who had contact with a heart failure nurse were more satisfied with their treatment and more likely to believe that their heart failure was treatable. Contact with a heart failure nurse did not make a statistically significant difference to mood or quality of life.

Conclusions.

This study has shown that contact with a heart failure nurse can improve patient satisfaction with treatment decisions but has less influence on a patient's beliefs about their personal control, treatment control and treatment concerns. With appropriate support, skills and training, heart failure nurses could play an important role in addressing individual patient's beliefs. There is a need to further investigate this.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Exploring patients’ illness beliefs and mood could help to enhance person-centred care. Heart failure nurses would need additional training in the techniques used.

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