The illness experiences of patients and their family members living with congestive heart failure

Jane Scherberger Mahoney, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston

Abstract

Purpose. To investigate and understand the illness experiences of patients and their family members living with congestive heart failure (CHF). ^ Design. Focused ethnographic design. ^ Setting. One outpatient cardiology clinic, two outpatient heart failure clinics, and informants' homes in a large metropolitan city located in southeast Texas. ^ Sample. A purposeful sampling technique was used to select a sample of 28 informants. The following somewhat overlapping, sampling strategies were used to implement the purposeful method: criterion; typical case; operational construct; maximum variation; atypical case; opportunistic; and confirming and disconfirming case sampling. ^ Methods. Naturalistic inquiry consisted of data collected from observations, participant observations, and interviews. Open-ended semi-structured illness narrative interviews included questions designed to elicit informant's explanatory models of the illness, which served as a synthesizing framework for the analysis. A thematic analysis process was conducted through domain analysis and construction of data into themes and sub-themes. Credibility was enhanced through informant verification and a process of peer debriefing. ^ Findings. Thematic analysis revealed that patients and their family members living with CHF experience a process of disruption, incoherence, and reconciling. Reconciling emerged as the salient experience described by informants. Sub-themes of reconciling that emerged from the analysis included: struggling; participating in partnerships; finding purpose and meaning in the illness experience; and surrendering. ^ Conclusions. Understanding the experiences described in this study allows for a better understanding of living with CHF in everyday life. Findings from this study suggest that the experience of living with CHF entails more than the medical story can tell. It is important for nurses and other providers to understand the experiences of this population in order to develop appropriate treatment plans in a successful practitioner-patient partnership. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Mahoney, Jane Scherberger, "The illness experiences of patients and their family members living with congestive heart failure" (2000). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9964428.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI9964428

Share

COinS