Acute myocardial infarction: The spouse's experience

Theobald, Karen A. (1994) Acute myocardial infarction: The spouse's experience. In The Fifth Queensland Critical Care Conference, 5-7 August 1994, Sheraton Breakwater, Townsville, Qld.

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Given the marked changes in length of hospital stay and the number of CAB procedures being performed, it is essential that health professionals are aware of the potential impact these changes could have on the spouses of patients who have undergone CAB surgery. Results from numerous quantitative studies suggest that spouses of patients undergoing CAB surgery experience both physical and emotional stress before and after their partners surgery. While such studies have contributed to our understanding, they fail to capture the qualitative experience of what it is like to be a spouse of a partner who has undergone CAB surgery, specifically in the context of changes in the length of hospital stay.

The objective of this study was to describe the experience of spouses of patients who had recently undergone CAB surgery. This study utilised a qualitative methodology and was guided by Husserl's phenomenological approach. Data was obtained from four participants by in depth open ended interviews.

This study has implications for all health professionals involved in the care of patients and their families undergoing CAB surgery. If health professionals are to provide holistic care, they need to understand more fully the qualitative experience of spouses of critically ill patients.

The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of spouses whose partner's had suffered an acute myocardial infarction (MI). The study was guided by a phenomenological approach. This qualitative type of study is new to nursing inquiry, therefore this investigation creates links with understanding the notion of psychosocial nursing processes with the leading cause of death in Australia. Literature concerning the spouses of myocardial infarction patients has predominantly employed quantitative methods, as such results have centred on structured data collection, and categorised outcomes. Such methods have failed to capture the insight of what it is like to be a spouse of a patient who has had an MI.

In-depth interviews were conducted with three participants (2 females and 1 male) about their experiences. The major findings of the study were categorised under the headings of uncertainty, emotional turmoil, support information and lifestyle change.

Conclusions suggest that spouses are neglected by health professionals and they require as much psychosocial support as their partner in terms of cardiac discharge planning. Spouses need to be granted special consideration, as they progress through a grieving and readjustment process in coming to terms with:

(1) the need to support and care for their partner,

(2) changes in their roles and

(3) adjustments to their current lifestyles.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 90193
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Abstract published in Australian Critical Care, Volume 7, Issue 3, September 1994, Pages 31
DOI: 10.1016/S1036-7314(94)70693-7
ISSN: 1036-7314
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1994 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2015 06:13
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 06:13

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