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Keywords:

  • individual;
  • intervention;
  • literature review;
  • nursing;
  • outcome;
  • patient

Aims and objectives.  This review describes the outcomes of individualised nursing interventions on adult patients.

Background.  Although the delivery of individualised nursing interventions is important there is limited evidence about how these interventions enhance patient outcomes.

Methods.  A computerised search was undertaken using the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO. The selection criteria chosen were: reports of individualised nursing interventions focusing on adult patients in a variety of health care settings and using experimental designs. These involved randomised controlled trials, clinical controlled trials and pre- and posttest controlled studies. After a four-stage inclusion strategy 31 documents were accepted for the review.

Results.  The studies were mostly focused in preventative arenas such as health promotion and counselling. Others were care of older people in the community and in hospital and patients with chronic diseases. Over half of the nursing interventions (58%) involved educational or counselling activities which seem to be more effective than ordinary, standardised or routine education and counselling. Overall, 81% of the studies reported a positive impact of individualised interventions on patient outcomes showing that there is evidence, though limited, that individualised interventions can produce positive patient outcomes.

Conclusions.  There is sufficient evidence, especially in specific areas such as patient education and counselling, to acknowledge that individualised interventions are superior to non-individualised interventions. Evidence for this effect within clinical nursing interventions on patient outcomes was limited by the scarcity of research in this area. There is a need for additional intervention studies to determine the effect of individualised interventions in a wide variety of contexts.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Experience of health is individual. Therefore, nursing interventions should also be individualised to each patient. These findings show some promise that individualised interventions may be useful in delivering positive patient outcomes.