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Individualized care is important for atrial fibrillation

Individualized care is important for atrial fibrillation

– In my thesis, I studied people with atrial fibrillation, using interviews and questionnaires. In interviews, experiences of atrial fibrillation seemed to vary. For many, this meant changes in their lives as they had to learn how to cope with symptoms as a result of atrial fibrillation as well as anxiety and a change in self-image. Some did not feel involved in their care, and lacked continuity and someone to turn to to ask questions and get support, says Lena Homlund, Department of Nursing.

Surveys include health-related quality of life and how patients perceive illness. Women reported a worse health-related quality of life and lower belief in the ability to control the disease compared to men.

Even the length of time it took to be diagnosed was important for a number of factors. Those who were recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation reported a greater belief that the disease is temporary and controllable than those who had been diagnosed longer.

Over time (6 months), newly diagnosed patients reported improved health-related quality of life and decreased symptom burden, while no changes occurred in those who had lived longer with the diagnosis. The findings in the thesis also show that there is a relationship between health-related quality of life and negative perceptions of illness. Those who attributed more symptoms and greater consequences to atrial fibrillation and had negative feelings about the disease reported poorer health-related quality of life.

There has been a call for improved care for patients with atrial fibrillation. As part of this, a nurse-led, person-centred atrial fibrillation clinic was launched in 2019 in the Cardiovascular Department.

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In the last study of the thesis, this reception was evaluated. The results suggest that support from nurse-led, person-centred reception can reduce patients' negative feelings and fears attributed to atrial fibrillation and strengthen their belief in the ability to control the disease, says Lena Homlund.

Lena Homelund She graduated as a nurse in 1989. She works at the Cardiovascular Department, Heart Centre, Norrland University Hospital in Umeå, and is a PhD student at the Department of Nursing, Umeå University.

On Friday, May 24, Lena Homlund, Department of Nursing, Umeå University, defended her thesis entitled Patient experiences of atrial fibrillation and nurse-led person-centred reception assessment. The defense takes place at 09.00 at Aula Biologica, Biologihuset. The competitor is Professor Jan Martensson, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Jönköping University.

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