An innovative procedure improves the control of liquid intake during haemodyalisis
Lecturer and researcher Mark Beyebach of the Department of Health Sciences of the Public University of Navarre (NUP/UPNA) has conducted a pilot study to demonstrate the positive impact of solution-focused communication by nurses towards their patients on hemodialysis, so that the patients manage to reduce their liquid intake and thus contribute towards the satisfactory course of their treatment.
The research was conducted over a period of six months with a group of 36 patients in the Hemodialysis Unit of the General University Hospital of Alicante and three nurses who had received training in solution-focused communication.
The study, conducted in collaboration with María del Carmen Neipp (Miguel Hernández University of Elche), Maite García-Moreno (Hospital Complex of Navarre, CHN) and Inés González-Sánchez (General University Hospital of Alicante and the Cardenal Herrera University of Elche), has been published recently in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. It will shortly be replicated at two hospitals in La Rioja, so both nurses and kidney specialists will undergo training.
The question that the research aims to address is how to facilitate the reduction in the intake of liquid (and food) of certain patients on hemodialysis who have problems in achieving this, "something that the majority find tremendously difficult and uncomfortable, in particular during these hot months," said Beyebach. The aim is to ensure that the weight gain between one session and the next should be the indispensable minimum and that, therefore, the work of the machine that is purifying the blood should take the shortest possible time. Various pieces of research have shown that in that way not only is the comfort of the hemodialysis sessions increased, the life quality of the patients is improved, and their survival extended.
Changing the communicative style in order to achieve results
"It is a pilot study, not controlled and carried out on a small sample, but which explores an innovative alternative that no one has studied until now and which is pointing to some promising results," stressed the researcher. Normally, as he explained, to get the patient to reduce his/her intake, techniques such as the therapy or psychoeducation of the patients themselves are tried but they often fail to achieve the desired results. "It is necessary to empathise with the difficulties facing the patients and to reinforce positive behaviour, each patient's own resources," he said. "You also have to bear in mind that many of these patients have been waiting for a transplant for years, and their moods are close to depression, so merely instructive communication is of no use whatsoever," he said.
The research published highlights the role of nurses as agents of change, since it is the healthcare personnel who are more directly in contact with the person affected and who develop a bond with them. "The study published now suggests that by improving the style of communication with the patients, significant results can be achieved and that is what we want to demonstrate ultimately with the next study that we will be conducting in La Rioja," said Beyebach.