It may feel like patients too often disregard the advice and suggestions of nurses as soon as they leave the hospital. But a new study finds that when nurses provide wellness tips to older patients, those patients tend to adopt healthier lifestyles.
The report, from St. George’s University of London, tested how well older patients (ages 60 to 75) responded to a nurse-delivered intervention versus those patients who just received standard care. The study, published in PLOS Medicine, found that patients who received the intervention saw improved physical activity over the year following the intervention.
The Activity Intervention
The study’s definition of an intervention was four physical activity consultations over three months. Patients in this group were provided with an accelerometer, a pedometer and an individual activity plan. This plan included behavior change techniques like goal setting and encouraged patients to complete an activity diary.
After three months:
- The average daily step count was 1,037 higher for the intervention group than the control group.
- Moderate to vigorous intensity of physical activity (in 10-minute bouts) was 63 minutes per week higher.
After 12 months:
- The average daily step count was 609 higher for the intervention group than the control group.
- Moderate to vigorous intensity of physical activity (in 10-minute bouts) was 40 minutes per week higher.
Researchers concluded that these changes will result in significant health improvements. “The observed increase in physical activity is estimated to reduce the participants’ risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes by an estimated 5.5% and 9.1%, respectively,” they wrote.
These health improvements are great news, and it’s even better news that patients are listening to nurses and putting their suggestions into practice. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of wellness programs as preventative medicine, and this appears to be another example of research proving the programs can work.
Have you seen improvement in your patients’ lives from education you’ve provided? Share your stories in the comments below!