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Keywords:

  • care;
  • follow-up;
  • implantable cardioverter defibrillator;
  • nursing;
  • organisation;
  • patient education

Aim.  To describe the clinical aspects of implantable cardioverter defibrillators care in Sweden with focus on organisation, the role and education of nurses, patient information and education and areas in need of improvement.

Background.  Implantable cardioverter defibrillators implantations have developed rapidly in recent years and are now an established arrhythmia treatment. The expanding indication for implantable cardioverter defibrillators implantation demands new competencies and resources in the implantable cardioverter defibrillators team members.

Methods.  Participants were recruited among physicians and nurses in all of the hospitals implanting implantable cardioverter defibrillators (n = 16). Data were collected by a questionnaire. Additionally, all written educational materials provided to patients pre- and postimplant were collected from all 16 hospitals. Deductive content analysis using Sarvimäki and Stenbock-Hult’s five holistic dimensions was employed to ascertain how information was provided in brochures and information materials.

Results.  Half of the hospitals (n = 8) had nurse-based outpatient clinics and several others planned to introduce them. Three hospitals carried out distance follow-ups by means of tele-monitoring. The nurses had received specific implantable cardioverter defibrillators education from implantable cardioverter defibrillators companies and/or various university courses. The biophysical dimension dominated in the information material, while the emotional, intellectual and socio-cultural dimensions were scarcely described, and the spiritual-existential was not referred to at all.

Conclusion.  Holistic care of implantable cardioverter defibrillators patients can be achieved by means of a multidisciplinary implantable cardioverter defibrillators team and more patient-centred educational strategies. In Sweden, the organisation of implantable cardioverter defibrillators care and follow-up is developing towards more nurse-based clinics.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Development and implementation of structured care programmes with a more holistic approach can improve future implantable cardioverter defibrillators care. The content of the written educational materials need to be more holistic, rather than mainly focusing on the biophysical and technical aspects of living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillators.