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Endurance - integration of strength and vulnerability in relatives' response to open heart surgey as a lived experience

Journal article
Authors Ann-Kristin Karlsson
Mats Johansson
Evy Lidell
Published in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Volume 1
Pages 159-166
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 159-166
Language en
Keywords Endurance; lived experiences; lifeworld; open heart surgery; qualitative; relatives
Subject categories Nursing

Abstract

Open heart surgery is a threatening life event for patients and their relatives. The relatives' situation is especially complex since at the same time they both support the patient and suffer themselves. The purpose of the present study was to describe relatives' lived experiences of a family member's open-heart surgery in a lifeworld perspective. Nine relatives of patients who underwent coronary artery bypass and/or heart valve surgery were interviewed in depth using a phenomenological approach. Endurance was found to be the essential characteristic for this group and was derived from four constituents: unconditionality, uncertainty, mutuality and sadness. Unable to escape their changed lifeworld, they demonstrated endurance throughout the entire illness process, which implied a great sense of responsibility and the setting aside of their own needs and wishes. The endurance rendered them both strong and vulnerable, although the vulnerability was not immediately apparent. There is a risk that relatives in need for help to handle this threatening situation may be ignored by health care professionals because they seem so capable. A lifeworld perspective in health care including the entire family can prevent such a situation.

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