Background Information on rheumatic diseases is often complex to understand or scary, and additional support is often necessary. Rheuma Directly (RD) is a helpline with specially trained nurses on rheumatic diseases, funded by the Swedish Rheumatism Association and Spenshult Research and Development Centre. Little is known of how people calling a helpline perceive the contact.
Objectives To describe the variation in how people perceive the contact with the helpline RD.
Methods The study had a descriptive, qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach and was carried out by means of 27 semi-structured telephone interviews. The informants were 22 female and 5 men, and their ages ranged from 22 to 89 years (mean 54 years).
Results The informants called RD when they had problems getting answers to their questions through the Internet or from healthcare professionals. Three different description categories emerged: Specific competence, Constructive dialogue, and Applicability. The informants' perceived Specific competence when the nurses were knowledgeable, the call was complementary to previously received information and when the informants had greater knowledge after the contact with RD. They perceived that it was a Constructive dialogue when they got someone to discuss with, a “sounding board”, and perceived emotional support, felt reassured and were satisfied with the answer. The informants perceived Applicability because RD was available and they could make different choices according to their own desire; before (how and when they would contact RD), during (what to tell and what question they would ask) and after (how and what they would do after the contact with RD).
Conclusions People calling RD perceived that the telephone call with the nurses meant meeting specific competence, gaining constructive dialogue and that the helpline was applicable. This knowledge ad to a fuller understanding of factors that from a caller's perspective, are important when calling a helpline with specially trained nurses on rheumatic diseases.
Disclosure of Interest None declared