A patient-centred approach to assisted personal body care for patients hospitalised with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Annesofie L Jensen, Tina W Vedelø, Kirsten Lomborg
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2013, 22 (7): 1005-15

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore the patients' experiences of receiving patient-centred personal body care and to document changes compared to the patients' experiences in previous hospital stays.

BACKGROUND: Patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease suffer from breathlessness. Personal body care is therefore often a major challenge, and during exacerbation these patients may need comprehensive assistance. The quality of assisted personal body care depends largely on the patients' and the nurses' symptom recognition, disease management and ability to achieve therapeutic clarity in the nurse-patient interaction. We developed, implemented and evaluated a patient-centred approach to assisted personal body care in which these characteristics were sought.

DESIGN: The study is a qualitative outcome analysis with an interpretive description methodology.

METHODS: Nine female and two male hospitalised patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were selected for patient-centred care. Specially trained nurses and nursing assistants performed the patient-centred personal body care. Data material was obtained through participant observation of body care sessions with the patients, followed by individual in-depth interviews. The transcribed interviews were analysed and an interpretive description of the patients' experiences was established.

RESULTS: All patients experienced the patient-centred care to be different from what they had previously experienced. The most fundamental change was the experience of being an active part of a shared project. This experience encompassed three dimensions: clear signs of acknowledgement, attentive time and security.

CONCLUSION: Patient-centred assistance enables patients to take an active part in their personal body care activity. The intervention may be a method for nursing staff to secure patients-centred care.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Effective communication, tools for the assessment of breathlessness, clear and straight forward organisation of body care sessions, awareness of pauses and personal acknowledgment are important for the patients' ability to take part in personal body care activities.

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