Patients diagnosed with heart failure or HF experience a significant reduction in their quality of life experience. Also, the disease takes a tremendous toll on their financial resources. Furthermore, HF patients form part of a state’s significant financial burden. For example, the researcher documenting the study revealed that nine percent of HF patients are going to be re-admitted to a tertiary health care facility a few days after their discharge (Stavrianopoulos, 2016). It is important to figure out an effective intervention strategy.
Based on a review of the literature on the said medical issue, the application of a nurse-led telephone intervention program can help improve the patients’ quality of life metrics. As a consequence, a study was designed based on the idea that a sustained telephone intervention strategy facilitated by a team of qualified nurses can help create positive changes in the patients’ lives. The positive outcome underscored the value of using evidence-based nursing in developing disease management programs or DMP. The following pages highlight the outcome of a study using a telephone-based DMP spearheaded by a group of nurses proficient in HF patient care, and the strategy’s positive implications on the role of nurses in addressing a critical medical issue.
Describe the Study’s Research Question
A nurse-led telephone intervention program was the proposed DMP to improve patients’ quality of life metrics. This was based on previous studies that specifically applied the same framework in providing critical information regarding diet, medication, weight control, and actions that must be taken when the patient detected signs of worsening symptoms (Stavrianopoulos, 2016). Aside from providing health-related education, the nurses-led DMP must also ensure the proper steps necessary to perform follow-up protocols.
It has to be pointed out that research outcomes from previous studies exemplifying a similar research design strongly influenced the development of the current scientific inquiry. These are some of the events that influenced the formulation of the current research question. It is also important to note that the patients were selected based on the New York Heart Association selection criteria. All of the participants were classified as either an NYHA II or an NYHA II HF patient.
Describe the Study’s Research Design
Male and female HF patients took part in the study. The participants were equally divided into two groups: Group A and Group B. The nurses-led DMP lasted for 16 weeks. The researcher estimated that the average time consumed for each call was approximately 20 minutes (Stavrianopoulos, 2016). Statistical tools were employed to figure out the statistical difference in the data collected from Group A and Group B. Four nurses took part in the said DMP. These nurses were all qualified to implement the intervention strategy.
The research design’s strength is evident in the easy comparison of the outcome of the intervention strategy. The author utilized this research design because it is easier to demonstrate the impact of a particular intervention strategy. Consider for instance that after the collection of data, the author can simply apply statistical tools to determine if there is a significant difference in the outcome of the study. However, the research design’s weakness is evident in the small sample size. One can argue that the author decided not to change the research framework due to limited resources. It is easier to follow-up 25 patients with a team comprised only of a few nursing professionals.
Describe the Sample
A random selection was made to identify the inclusion of 50 male and female HF patients, regardless of ethnicity, marital classification, and socioeconomic status. There were 25 HF patients per group. Group A was the group that received a direct line of communication with a team of qualified nurses. However, Group B was the control, and the patients did not receive any telephone calls or any type of communication in the form of a follow-up protocol and information transmission process after they were discharged from the hospital. On the other hand, the members of Group A received critical information related to a specific DMP.
The sample size was not adequate, because there were only 25 participants. The small number was not enough to generalize that the research outcome holds in other care settings. In this type of inquiry, there were a significant number of factors that may affect the outcome of the study, such as, weight, age, diet, and complications of the disease. Thus, to prove that the positive change in the patient’s quality of life measurements was due to the aforementioned DMP, it is imperative to test the intervention strategy on larger sample size.
Describe the Data Collection Method
The researcher utilized questionnaires as a primary data collection method. The information collected included social data, demographic data, and scale values derived from the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire. After 16 weeks, patients discharged from a particular Greek hospital answered the said questionnaires. The collected data were analyzed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and Levene’s test. Data were also examined using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences or SPSS.
Describe the Study’s Limitations
There were two major limitations detected. First, the small sample size was not enough to make generalizations. Second, the participants knew that they were part of the intervention group, and their answers may have been influenced by how the nurses took great effort to help them. There are two ways to overcome these limitations. First, increase the sample size to 100 patients per group. Second, inform all the participants that the nurses are going to call them and not only the members of the intervention group. It is important to identify the study’s limitations to develop research designs that are going to produce valid research outcomes.
Describe the Study’s Reported Findings
The findings answered the research question because the application of appropriate statistical tools revealed a significant difference in the health outcomes of both groups. There was evidence to suggest that the application of a specific DMP caused dramatic improvements in the quality of life of HF patients. Although the sample size was a major limitation, one can still argue that the research findings were credible, because it validated the research outcomes of previous studies that investigated the same phenomenon.
Summary and Conclusion
The research question requires the development of a research design that measures the effect of a nurse-led telephone intervention strategy to help improve HF patients’ quality of life metrics. After 16 weeks, the selected DMP produced positive results. The research outcome demonstrated the capability of the chosen DMP to make positive changes in the patients’ lives. It also underscored the importance of using valid research outcomes to influence evidence-based nursing practices. Therefore, based on the research findings, there is strong evidence to suggest a change in practice, specifically the integration of a nurses-led intervention protocol facilitating the follow up of HF patients after the end of hospital care.
Stavrianopoulos, T. (2016). Impact of nurses-led telephone intervention program on the quality of life in patients with heart failure in a district hospital in Greece. Health Science Journal, 10(4), 1-8.