Nurses' fidelity to theory-based core components when implementing Family Health Conversations - a qualitative inquiry

Scand J Caring Sci. 2015 Sep;29(3):582-90. doi: 10.1111/scs.12178. Epub 2014 Sep 18.


Background and aim: A family systems nursing intervention, Family Health Conversation, has been developed in Sweden by adapting the Calgary Family Assessment and Intervention Models and the Illness Beliefs Model. The intervention has several theoretical assumptions, and one way translate the theory into practice is to identify core components. This may produce higher levels of fidelity to the intervention. Besides information about how to implement an intervention in accordance to how it was developed, evaluating whether it was actually implemented as intended is important. Accordingly, we describe the nurses' fidelity to the identified core components of Family Health Conversation.

Intervention and research methods: Six nurses, working in alternating pairs, conducted Family Health Conversations with seven families in which a family member younger than 65 had suffered a stroke. The intervention contained a series of three-1-hour conversations held at 2-3 week intervals. The nurses followed a conversation structure based on 12 core components identified from theoretical assumptions. The transcripts of the 21 conversations were analysed using manifest qualitative content analysis with a deductive approach.

Results and conclusion: The 'core components' seemed to be useful even if nurses' fidelity varied among the core components. Some components were followed relatively well, but others were not. This indicates that the process for achieving fidelity to the intervention can be improved, and that it is necessary for nurses to continually learn theory and to practise family systems nursing. We suggest this can be accomplished through reflections, role play and training on the core components. Furthermore, as in this study, joint reflections on how the core components have been implemented can lead to deeper understanding and knowledge of how Family Health Conversation can be delivered as intended.

Keywords: Family Health Conversation; family; family systems nursing; fidelity; intervention; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Family Health*
  • Family* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nurses* / psychology
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses'*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Sweden