Haemodialysis: the effects of using the empowerment concept during the development of a mutual-support group in Taiwan

Yu Chi Chen, Jui Sheng Pai, I. Chuan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


AIMS AND OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of using the empowerment concept during the development of a mutual-help group for haemodialysis.

BACKGROUND: Haemodialysis has different impacts on patients' physical, psychological and social health. The effects of mutual-support group have been found in groups of chronic disease patients. However, none of them were for haemodialysis patients.

DESIGN: An intervention-evaluation design was used for this study. The intervention process was divided into four phases: (1) assessment, (2) planning, (3) action and (4) evaluation/feedback. As part of this study, a mutual-help group was formed that met eight times for group activities over a three-month study period.

RESULTS: There were three indicators of empowerment outcomes. Physical symptoms decreased significantly after the patients had participated in the mutual-help group (z = -2.893, p < 0.05), especially symptoms such as itchy skin, insomnia and spasms. In terms of the patients' social network and social functions, social support increased significantly (z = -3.412, p < 0.05). The total score for the patients' quality of life also showed a significant improvement (z = -3.408, p < 0.05) with the emotional and health dimensions improving the most.

CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that supports the use of mutual-help groups as a means of aiding patients with chronic illness to cope with their illness. Mutual-help groups are a necessary future direction in nursing that will improve the quality of health care for patients' with chronic illness.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The study found that a mutual-help group not only can improve patient's illness adaptability, but also brought about a range of other empowerment outcomes. It also had many positive impacts for the hospital. Therefore, it will be beneficial for the patients with a chronic illness if health care professionals can be sensitive to relevant factors and construct mutual-support groups based on the empowerment concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008


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