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Decisions About Starting and Ceasing HRT Use: Information Needs Of Women  

Christine Stephens, PhD, School of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North  

Jenny Carryer, RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), Professor of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Massey University, and MidCentral Health, Palmerston North R.  C

laire Budge, PhD, School of Health Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North  

Abstract  

Following a decade of controversy and attention to issues surrounding the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at menopause, New Zealand women are expressing confusion and their need for more clear information concerning some aspects of use. This study reports the results of a thematic analysis of transcript data from individual and focus group interviews with 80 New Zealand mid-aged women. The results highlight two concerns: women who are not using HRT are anxious about their decisions in terms of osteoporosis prevention, and women who are using HRT are concerned about when and how to cease use. Although there is a plethora of information available to women, much of it does not meet their current needs. We suggest that nurses could be ideally placed to provide the clear, balanced and sensitive information required.  

Key Words: HRT, menopause, information, decision-making   

Introduction  

New Zealand women show a growing interest in using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at the time of menopause. From 1993 to 1999 the rate of HRT prescription in New Zealand doubled (Pharmac, personal communication, 24 December 1999). A recent survey of a sample of midaged women randomly selected from the New Zealand population indicated a use rate of 25% by women aged between 45 and 60 years, which is higher than any previous estimates (Breheny & Stephens, 1999). Continued 

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