Patients' descriptions of nursing interventions supporting quality of life in acute psychiatric wards: a qualitative study

Anneli Pitkänen, Heli Hätönen, Lauri Kuosmanen, Maritta Välimäki
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2008, 45 (11): 1598-606

BACKGROUND: People with mental disorders suffer from impaired quality of life (QoL). In psychiatric hospital wards nurses are in a close relationship with patients and have good opportunities to support patients' QoL. Still, relatively little is known about patients' perceptions related to nursing interventions by which nurses can support the QoL of patients with severe mental illness.

OBJECTIVES: To explore patients' perceptions of nursing interventions in supporting patients' QoL in acute psychiatric inpatient settings.

DESIGN: Explorative descriptive study design.

SETTINGS: The study was conducted in seven acute 24-h psychiatric wards of general hospitals in Southern Finland.

PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five inpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizotypal disorder or delusional disorder.

METHODS: The data were generated through semi-structured interviews and processed by means of qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS: Five main categories of patients' perceptions of nursing interventions were identified to support QoL from patients' descriptions: empowering interventions, social interventions, activating interventions, security interventions and interventions to support physical health.

CONCLUSIONS: Impaired QoL of patients with severe mental illness can be supported in acute psychiatric wards through nursing interventions. However, we are not sure how effective these interventions are. Thus, research on the effectiveness of nursing interventions to support patients' QoL is needed.

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