Research Article Summary(Impact of a nurses-led telephone Intervention program on the quality of life in patients with heart failure in a district hospital of Greece)
In the contemporary medical world, the healthcare professionals are embracing new technologies for the management of chronic conditions such as heart failure and diabetes. Informing this growing trend is the need for better healthcare outcomes associated with these conditions. A case in point of a technology widely used is the mobile phones, which healthcare personnel use to follow-up, support and communicate with patients for the improvement of quality of life. Various researches have sought to establish the efficacy of such telephone interventions in improving the quality of life of patients. A befitting example of such studies is one conducted by Stavrianopoulos, (2016), who aimed at establishing the impact of a nurses-led telephone intervention program on the heart failure patients’ quality of life in a district hospital of Greece. In essence, this paper aims at providing a critique of Stavrianopoulos’ study, which will justify the application of the study findings by establishing whether theconducted research is within the confines of proper research guidelines. Central to the analysis are various aspects that will form part of the critique. They include the research question, study design, sample, data collection methods, limitations and findings.
Given the inevitability of poor quality of life among heart failure patients due to many challenges facing them and frequent hospital readmissions, the researcher aimed at establishing the efficacy of regular nurses-led telephone intervention in improving the quality of life of these patients. Of utmost significance to the achievement of this goal is the answering of the following research question: ‘Can regular nurses-led telephone intervention improve the quality of life of heart failure patients?’ (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
From personal observation, this research question is a well posed and structured. Also, it is befitting given that it meets the standards of an ideal and legitimate research question. Such is the case given that this study question is reflective of the formulated research objective of assessing whether regular nurses-led telephone intervention can improve the quality of life of heart failure patients (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Finally, the events and trends that are likely to affect this research question are also worth noting. One likelytrend is the failure of patients to pick up the phone when called by nurses. Also, some study participants were likely to change their answers to the research question overtime and thereby invalidating the results (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Concisely, the researcher utilized quantitative study methods (pre-test and post-test evaluation) for the achievement of the formulated research objective. At the heart of this study design, heart failure patients (male and female) were assigned randomly and equally into two groups, A (intervention group) and B (control group). Both set of patients filled a questionnaire prior and after complete rolling out of the intervention (16weeks) (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
The strengths and weakness of the study design used in this research are also worth highlighting.A potential merit of this study design is its ability to steer the researcher towards obtaining valid findings. That is for sure given that this design potentiated the determination of the efficacy level of the intervention on the quality of life, which is measurable through the comparison of the outcomes in both the intervention and control groups. On the contrary, this study design comes with the weakness of research bias because the awareness of participants that they are in the intervention group would have them change their responses to justify the nurses’ effort and commitment (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Going by the nature of the research question, the study pioneer’s use of the pre-test and post-test evaluation methods is justifiable. Such is the case given that the efficacy level of the intervention on the quality of life is only measurable through the comparison of the outcomes in both the intervention and control groups.
Primarily, the sample size considered for this study was 50 heart failure patients (both male and female). Both the intervention and control groups had equal number of patients (25). The inclusion criteria for the study sample entailed all patients aged 18years and over and that were easily accessible through telephone contact. The eligibility was irrespective of origin, and marital or socioeconomic status (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Based on this sample size of 50 patients, my opinion is that the sample size is inadequate and therefore generalizability of this study is impossible. Strengthening my claim on this issue is the fact that quantitative studies rely on large numbers for the vindication of the statistical evidence of the hypothesized issue. Notwithstanding, a sample size of 50 patients increases the risk of having a high margin of error as opposed to when the researcher has recruited more patients for study of this kind. As such, a small sample size of this kind is inadequate and unable to yield substantive evidence of the efficacy of telephone interventions in improving the quality of life among heart failure patients.
Data Collection Methods
The nurses within the study area were instrumental in the collection of the data from the patients. They administered questionnaires to patients before and after the telephone intervention. The questionnaires entailed questions aimed at establishing the demographic, social data and the scale (Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire, MLHFQ). Patients were able to complete the questionnaire in 20minutes time (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Going by the description of the data collection process, certain gaps relating to the ethical considerations taken by the researcher are evident. For instance, the researcher fails to detail whether the nurses sought informed consent from the heart failure patients prior to their inclusion to the study.
Limitations of the Study
Stavrianopoulos, (2016), is of the opinion that the study conducted was not devoid of certain challenges. One of the limitations is a small sample size, which makes generalizability of the study findings impossible. Another challenge relates to the internal validity is research bias. Such is the case given the use of pre-test/post-test study design that makes it easier for participants to change their responses overtime (Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
Also, worth noting are the strategies that one can adopt to overcome these limitations. Primarily, the challenge posed by a small sample size is avoidable by recruitment of more persons into the study sample to increase the generalizability of the research findings. On the contrary, one can overcome the limitation of research bias by blinding the study participants.
Lastly, the listing and discussion of the study limitations by the researcher is commendable and a vital inclusion. That is for sure because through the highlighted limitations, future researches on this issue have a bearing of what to address for the attainment of best and valid findings.
Stavrianopoulos, (2016), in his study concluded that nurse-led telephone intervention improved the quality of life of heart failure patients. That is for sure because prior to the intervention, the MLHFQ score in the intervention group (A) was 50.88 as compared to the 31.52 after the introduction of the telephone. In essence, these results comprehensively answer the research question since it is apparent that the nurse-led telephone intervention improves the quality of life of heart failure patients.
Finally, the credibility of these findings is also worth mention. From a personal standpoint, the results of this study are credible given their consistency with past research findings on the same issue. Besides, the researcher affirms that despite the study limitations, the findings affirm nurse-led telephone intervention result in improvement of the quality of life(Stavrianopoulos, 2016).
In closure, this paper aimed at analyzing Stavrianopoulos’s study for the justification of the application of the study findings. Central to the critique were various aspects namely, the research question, study design, sample, data collection methods, limitations and findings. Stavrianopoulos in his study aimed at answering the question whether regular nurses-led telephone intervention can improve the quality of life of heart failure patients. From the analysis of the study findings, it is beyond doubt that nurses-led telephone intervention upgrades the heart failure patients’ quality of life. Such is the case due to the low MLHFQ score (31.52) in the intervention group (A)after rolling out intervention as compared to the 50.88 before the roll-out. Given such a reduction of the MLHFQ score, implementation of the telephone intervention for heart failure patients is worth trying. As such, going forward healthcare facilities must think along these lines if they are to improve the quality of heart failure patients. However, in the absence of such a consideration, individuals with heart failure will continue to lead a poor quality of life for the unforeseeable future.
Stavrianopoulos, T. (2016). Impact of a Nurses-Led Telephone Intervention Program on the Quality of Life in Patients with Heart Failure in a District Hospital of Greece. Health Science Journal.