The nurse – a resource in hypertension care
Aim of the study. To explore the content and structure of communication between patient and nurse at follow-up appointments concerning hypertension.
Background. Hypertension is a chronic condition and calls for co-operation between health care providers and patients over a long period of time. One important purpose of the follow-up consultations is to transfer knowledge between patients and health care providers in order to empower patients. This is an important determinant of the quality of care.
Design/methods. The study was based on 20 audio-recordings of actual follow-up appointments and was approved by ethics committees. The consultations took place at four different health care units for hypertensive patients.
Findings. The average length of consultations was 18 minutes. In the consultations, patients initiated an average of eight new topics and nurses an average of 20. All nurses talked with patients about life style. Compared with previous studies of follow-ups with physicians, consultations with nurses addressed lifestyle factors and adherence to treatment to a higher degree. It was also observed that patients were more actively involved in interaction with nurses compared with the follow-ups with physicians.
Conclusions. Active patient participation in care is a critical factor in improving adherence to treatment. It would be of value to develop and assess a more patient-centred organization of hypertension care and thereby more individualized hypertension treatment. Nurses may have a pivot role in such care.