British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Nurses play a key role in the ongoing treatment and management of chronic conditions such as Hepatitis C. Their skills in counseling, education, and as liaisons between patients, support services, and other healthcare providers make them crucial in the management of patients with Hepatitis C. Qualitative methods were used to explore and describe quality-of-care perspectives of patients receiving care in viral hepatitis clinics. Data were collected through focus group interviews at three hepatitis prevention and care demonstration projects located in underserved rural and small urban areas in British Columbia, Canada. Key themes were identified and used to construct a "Hepatitis C care model" and generate quality-of-care statements. These statements were then rated by another group of participants with Hepatitis C, using concept mapping. Most themes identified by the participants in focus groups (n = 21) related to care provision processes (autonomy, communication, education/information, continuity of care, professional competence, and support) rather than structure or outcomes of care. Concept-mapping participants (n = 20) rated communication as the key theme. Participants also highlighted the supportive role nurses played. Hepatitis C programming can be improved by leveraging nurses' strengths within multidisciplinary teams to address patient's concerns about process and communication issues.