Information availability for the families of stroke patients at an emergency department: A training intervention study

Pirjo Virtanen, Eija Paavilainen, Pirjo Aalto, Mika Helminen, Päivi Åstedt-Kurki


In this study, the information availability for the families of stroke patients at an emergency department (ED) is described and how a training intervention for the staff can change this is studied. The material for the study was collected by using a survey questionnaire given to stroke patients and their families in two university hospital EDs from 2006-2008. The first set of material (n=85) was collected before the training intervention and the second set (n=72) after the intervention.

The first survey examined stroke patients’ and their families’ experience of the information availability at the two EDs. After the first survey, a training intervention was conducted where one of the two EDs functioned as the intervention ED and the other one functioned as the control ED. After this, a new survey was carried out for the stroke patients and their family members at both the intervention ED and the control ED. This article discusses the family members’ experiences of information availability before and after the training intervention.

In the family members’ experience, the information availability was best realized regarding keeping them informed about issues and tests, staff treatment and issues relating to the information availability for the family member the patient informed. The worst realized components of information availability were related to discussing symptoms, the patient instructions received and informing about medication and IV therapy.

In the training the staff of the intervention ED received information on background factors, risk factors and symptoms of strokes and different treatment forms. The training also discussed the role of the family member as the patient’s supporter when healing and/or coping with the disease. In addition to the training, the intervention ED adopted new written instructions designed for stroke patients and their family.

According to the results, the effect of the educational intervention was not statistically significant when comparing the intervention emergency department and the control emergency department, although the information availability was seen to have improved for each component when analysed separately. The interaction effect term is positive in each of the nine components of information availability, which indicates that there has been more positive development at the intervention emergency department than at the control emergency department.

Among the background factors, waiting time at the emergency department, waiting time before a doctor arrived to examine the patient and whether the doctor arrived soon enough were connected to the information availability experienced by stroke patients’ family members.

The results support the idea that an intervention can have a positive effect on the information availability as perceived by the families of stroke patients.

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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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