Communication Patterns in Consultations Between Patients with Atrial Fibrillation and Health Professionals

Sammanfattning: Background Patients’ preferences, needs and desires are important when discussing treatment. In consultations between patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and health professionals, knowledge, understanding and insight about communication patterns are of vital importance for strengthening patient involvement in decision-making about their care and treatment.Aim The general aim of this thesis was to describe communication patterns in consultations between patients with AF and health professionals.Specific aims (1) To describe (i) the topics patients with AF and their nurses and physicians discuss; (ii) the use of discursive space in consultations between these participants; and (iii) the frequencies with which patients and nurses/physicians introduce the identified topics.(2) To describe the types of patient resistance to accepting treatment with warfarin and how cardiologists respond to such resistance.Methods An inductive design was used. In study I, the sample consisted of 23 consultations between patients with AF (13 women and 10 men) and health professionals (5 women and 5 men) who were employed in six different cardiologic outpatient clinics. Content analysis was used to obtain a description of topics discussed. The patterns of dominance for the various topics and participant were explored from the framework of an analysis of dominance (I). In study II, the sample consisted of 11 consultations between patients with AF (7 women and 4 men) and cardiologists (2 women and 3 men). Conversation analysis was used to describe interactions concerning resistance to treatment with warfarin.Findings Study I. Four topics were introduced by both nurses and physicians during the consultations. These were “pathophysiology”, “treatment”, “diagnostic procedures”, and “activity”. In the nurse–patient consultations an additional topic, “routines related to the physician’s responsibilities”, emerged. With respect to the number of words and turns, the distribution of the discourse space was almost equal between nurses and patients, and unequal between physicians and patients. The patients were the dominant initiators of the topic “activity”, which refers to adaptation of activities in daily life in relation to AF.Study II. There were four types of patient resistance to accepting treatment with warfarin. These included “Giving reasons for their resistance”, “Suggesting other treatment options”, “Stating treatment preferences” and “Questioning or challenging the cardiologist’s treatment recommendations”. The cardiologists’ responses to the patients’ resistance included “Repeating the treatment recommendation”, “Negotiation with the patient”, “Providing additional information about the recommended treatment” and “Extending their explanation of the purpose of the treatment”.Conclusions The medical-driven agenda dominated over the patient-driven agenda in consultations between health care professionals and patients with AF. During conversations in consultations with nurses, the patients initiated discussion of living with AF and were more talkative than they were with physicians. An awareness of types of patient resistance to treatment would enable cardiologists to consider patients’ experience-based views about their treatment;