A nursing intervention increases the adherence to treatment after a heart attack in elderly patients

  • A study led by nursing professionals from the Bellvitge University Hospital and IDIBELL  has shown that a specific nursing intervention achieves more adherence to treatment in complex elderly patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction.
Elena Calvo

The work, led by Elena Calvo, nurse manager of hemodynamics in the Heart Disease Area of ​​the Bellvitge Hospital and researcher at IDIBELL, has been published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the journal with the highest impact factor in the field.

The aging of the population is causing an increasing number of older patients with acute myocardial infarction. These patients have a higher risk of complications and low adherence to medication, which, in turn, implies the use of more healthcare resources.

This study compared two groups of patients older than 75 years after undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention for myocardial infarction in our center. While one group received the usual follow-up, the second received a specific nursing intervention designed to reinforce treatment adherence.

Specifically, three months after receiving the treatment, they received an educational interview from trained nurses. Relatives and caregivers of the patients also attended to this visit to receive instructions. In the case of patients who could not move, the nursing team went to their home to carry out the intervention, or they carried it out by phone. The duration of this interview was approximately 40 minutes and it focused on some measures and recommendations to improve or maintain adherence. A reminder call was also made at 6 months.

At the end of 12 months, the adherence achieved was measured by applying two assessment tests: the attendance at visits and, the data on withdrawal of drugs from the pharmacy.

The results showed that, while only 21.5% of the patients with the usual follow-up achieved good adherence, in the case of the patients who received the specific nursing intervention the percentage rose to 51.9%.

These results confirm the importance of nursing in patient adherence, especially due to its educational nature. Nursing plays a fundamental role in the task of informing, motivating, and empowering the patient, encouraging them to have an active role and be a protagonist of their health, a key element to promote adherence.



The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).

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