Right or duty of information: A Habermasian perspective

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The theoretical framework of Jürgen Habermas suggests that effective communication requires competent participants with an objective attitude that complies with the rules and worlds designated as objective, social and subjective. This situation determines communicative action, which stimulates the search for mutual understanding and results in a process of interaction that promotes self-determination.


In this study, the discharge letters of patients with myocardial infarction were explored regarding the provision of information. The patient's right to information and the duty of informing were analysed according to the perspective of Jürgen Habermas.

Research design:

This was a cross-sectional analysis (from a broader longitudinal study) of all discharge letters that were directly related to nursing interventions regarding the provision of information to 106 patients. In this major study, the difficulties faced by patients who experienced a myocardial infarction and the changes in their lifestyles were analysed based on the type of information received.

Ethical considerations:

The hospital Ethics Committee approved the study, which complied with ethical principles and required informed consent.


In the nursing letters, interventions related to the provision of information were conducted at an average of 3.59 interventions per patient. For 8.5% of the patients, however, no interventions related to the provision of information were performed. The most common area of information during hospitalisation was related to the management of signs and symptoms and applied to 90.6% patients.


The nursing interventions did not cover patient education, transition processes or awareness of the disease. Thus, the right to information can be questioned.


Information is a right, and communication is extremely important. Health professionals should be aware of this importance regarding both care management and the satisfaction guarantee. The sharing of information by health professionals based on their competency is essential for patients to exercise their right to self-determination and decision-making.

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