Developing an evidence-based and theory informed intervention to involve families in patients care after surgery: A quality improvement project

Int J Nurs Sci. 2019 Sep 12;6(4):352-361. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnss.2019.09.006. eCollection 2019 Oct 10.


Objectives: In the post-surgical setting, active involvement of family caregivers has the potential to improve patient outcomes by prevention of surgical complications that are sensitive to fundamental care. This paper describes the development of a theoretically grounded program to enhance the active involvement of family caregivers in fundamental care for post-surgical patients.

Methods: We used a quality improvement project following a multi-phase design. In Phase 1, an iterative method was used to combine evidence from a narrative review and professionals' preferences. In Phase 2, the logic model underlying the program was developed guided by four steps: (1) confirm situation, intervention aim, and target population; (2) documented expected outcomes, and outputs of the intervention; (3) identify and describe assumptions, external factors and inputs; and (4) confirm intervention components.

Results: Phase 1 identified a minimum set of family involvement activities that were both supported by staff and the narrative review. In Phase 2, the logic model was developed and includes (1) the inputs (e.g. educational- and environmental support), (2) the ultimate outcomes (e.g. reduction of postoperative complications), (3) the intermediate outcomes (e.g. behavioural changes), and (4) immediate outcomes (e.g. improved knowledge, skills and attitude).

Conclusions: We demonstrated how we aimed to change our practice to an environment in which family caregivers were stimulated to be actively involved in postoperative care on surgical wards, and how we took different factors into account. The description of this program may provide a solid basis for professionals to implement the family involvement program in their own setting.

Keywords: Family caregivers; Hospital surgery department; Nursing care; Nursing models; Quality improvement.