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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Clinical research for patient empowerment--a qualitative approach on the improvement of heart health promotion in chronic illness

Christian Meyer, Anja Muhlfeld, Christine Drexhage, Jurgen Floege, Eberhard Goepel, Patrick Schauerte, Malte Kelm, Tienush Rassaf

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(7): CR358-365

ID: 863664


Background: Concepts of health management and improved quality of health care are of growing importance. In this context, the concept of empowerment is widely accepted in health-related disciplines. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether theory-based empowerment, using motivational interviewing, can be facilitated within clinical research in patients with severe chronic diseases.
Material and Method: We here present a qualitative in-depth interview study using grounded theory methodology. Participants were twenty-seven patients undergoing chronic haemodialysis who were taking part in a research programme investigating cardiovascular function in chronic renal failure (CRF) by ultrasound measurements and blood samples.
Results: With the exception of one patient, all interviewed patients emphasized the benefit of the detailed and structured information given. All patients pointed out a deepened understanding of cardiovascular health and its relation to CRF. Improved health knowledge was associated with a strengthened sense of control in our participants. This process resulted in high levels of patient satisfaction. Fifty percent of the interviewed patients were more likely to attend further education sessions with cardiologists and primary care practitioners to improve health management.
Conclusions: Facilitating empowerment in a clinical research project is ethically essential and can positively enhance self-care-oriented, disease-specific skills in patients with severe chronic diseases. Clinical research may open up new avenues to additionally strengthen patient sovereignty in interdisciplinary health sciences.

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