Therapeutic communication and relationships in chronic and complex care
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Therapeutic communication and relationships in chronic and complex care

Sharon Brownie Dean, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Aga Khan University, East Africa
Robin Scott Teaching academic, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia
Rachel Rossiter Associate professor of nursing and nurse practitioner, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia

As the population ages and the incidence of chronic diseases and lifestyle-related conditions rises, nurses are increasingly required to provide care for people with a range of chronic conditions. The healthcare needs of patients are often complicated by comorbid conditions. Nurses deliver healthcare in the context of the patient's medical conditions, treatment regimens, the healthcare system, and the individual's socioeconomic, personal and family factors, which may include the challenges of social isolation and geographic distance. In such complex circumstances, patients may be perceived as ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’, however, the challenge is not the patient themselves, but the relationship between the nurse and the patient. Communication difficulties can occur between nurses and patients, which may affect the therapeutic relationship and the quality of care provided. This article discusses the communication skills that nurses require to interact effectively with patients who have complex and chronic comorbid conditions. It focuses on therapeutic communication strategies and the nurse-patient relationship, while emphasising the need for nurses to be self-aware when caring for patients with complex healthcare needs.

Nursing Standard. 31, 6, 54-63. doi: 10.7748/ns.2016.e9847

Correspondence

s.brownie@griffith.edu.au

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 10 December 2014

Accepted: 05 August 2016

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