The effect of nurse–patient interaction on anxiety and depression in cognitively intact nursing home patients

Authors

  • Gørill Haugan PhD, RN,

    Associate Professor, Corresponding author
    • Faculty of Nursing, Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources, Sør-Trøndelag University College, HIST, Trondheim, Norway
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  • Siw T Innstrand PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources , Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
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  • Unni K Moksnes PhD, RN

    Associate Professor
    1. Faculty of Nursing, Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources, Sør-Trøndelag University College, HIST, Trondheim, Norway
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Correspondence: Gørill Haugan, Associate Professor, Research Centre for Health Promotion and Resources, HIST/NTNU, NTNU, SVT/ISH, 7491 Trondheim, Norway. Telephone: +47 73 55 29 27.

E-mail: gorill.haugan@hist.no

Abstract

Aims and objectives

To test the effects of nurse–patient interaction on anxiety and depression among cognitively intact nursing home patients.

Background

Depression is considered the most frequent mental disorder among the older population. Specifically, the depression rate among nursing home patients is three to four times higher than among community-dwelling older people, and a large overlap of anxiety is found. Therefore, identifying nursing strategies to prevent and decrease anxiety and depression is of great importance for nursing home patients' well-being. Nurse–patient interaction is described as a fundamental resource for meaning in life, dignity and thriving among nursing home patients.

Design

The study employed a cross-sectional design. The data were collected in 2008 and 2009 in 44 different nursing homes from 250 nursing home patients who met the inclusion criteria.

Methods

A sample of 202 cognitively intact nursing home patients responded to the Nurse–Patient Interaction Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. A structural equation model of the hypothesised relationships was tested by means of Lisrel 8.8 (Scientific Software International Inc., Lincolnwood, IL, USA).

Results

The SEM model tested demonstrated significant direct relationships and total effects of nurse–patient interaction on depression and a mediated influence on anxiety.

Conclusion

Nurse–patient interaction influences depression, as well as anxiety, mediated by depression. Hence, nurse–patient interaction might be an important resource in relation to patients' mental health.

Relevance to clinical practice

Nurse–patient interaction is an essential factor of quality of care, perceived by long-term nursing home patients. Facilitating nurses' communicating and interactive skills and competence might prevent and decrease depression and anxiety among cognitively intact nursing home patients.

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