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HIV nursing consultants: patients' preferences and experiences about the quality of care.

Hekkink, C.F., Wigersma, L., IJzermans, C.J., Bindels, P.J.E. HIV nursing consultants: patients' preferences and experiences about the quality of care. Journal of Clinical Nursing: 2005, 14(3), 327-333
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AIM AND OBJECTIVES: We were interested to find out how human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-patients judge the quality of care received from their HIV nursing consultants, compared with the care delivered by HIV specialists and general practitioners. Furthermore, we were interested in how the opinions of HIV patients on the HIV nursing consultant compared with the opinions of patients with rheumatic diseases on the care they receive from their specialized nurses. BACKGROUND: The role of nurses has changed over the years. For patients with chronic diseases there seems to be an increasing role for nursing consultants in the delivery of care. In evaluating quality of care, patients' views are considered important especially for the chronically ill who can be seen as experts by experience. METHODS: Between February 1999 and June 2000, 250 patients, receiving care from both general practitioner and specialist, received a questionnaire [Quality of Care Through the Patient's Eyes (QUOTE)-HIV] to assess HIV-related quality of care, as perceived by them. Aspects were formulated as "importance" and "performance" statements. Items were scored on 4-point scales. A ratio score (R(ij) = P(ij)/I(ij)) was calculated by dividing the perceived performance score (P) of an individual patient (i), on a health service (j) by his importance score (I). A comparison was made with patients with rheumatic diseases by using data from the QUOTE-Rheuma. RESULTS: Patients judged the quality of care from the HIV nursing consultant as predominantly good. Five aspects showed an unfavourable ratio score (R < 1.0) which indicates room for improvement. On the dimensions "professional performance" and "attitude of the professional" the HIV nursing consultant scores between the general practitioner and the HIV specialist. Patients with rheumatic diseases seemed to be more satisfied than HIV patients with the care from their nurse consultant. CONCLUSIONS: The HIV nursing consultants have an important role in the care of patients infected with HIV. The HIV nursing consultants are judged as good and are ranked in between the general practitioner and the HIV specialist. Given the orientation towards a more integrated care for chronically ill patients, there should be more attention paid to the position of the HIV nursing consultant. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: In the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom there is a tendency to a greater degree of differentiation of tasks in health care. This study shows that there is room for a position like the nursing consultant and that this is highly valued by patients. (aut.ref.)