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Keywords:

  • Huntington's disease;
  • predictive testing;
  • stages of change;
  • genetics;
  • nursing applications

The evaluation of the `stages of change' model for use in counselling client's undergoing predictive testing for Huntington's disease

Nurses are increasingly working in new and novel situations which may be outside the realms of traditional nursing practice. Therefore when evaluating theories and models that may be utilized in these situations it may be necessary to look beyond established nursing theories and concepts. This paper therefore attempts to evaluate Prochaska & DiClemente's (1983) stages of change model for its goodness of fit when counselling people as part of the predictive testing programme for Huntington's disease. The model demonstrates that in order to provide effective communication it is important to recognize the particular stage a client is at in his/her decision-making process concerning predictive testing. The relevance of the model to generic genetic counselling in nursing practice is discussed and the importance of stage-matched nursing interventions is emphasized. The model's non-reliance on the medical model or the concept of illness means that it may also be a useful model when applied to other nursing situations.