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Perceptions of the helpfulness of a home follow up program to post myocardial infarction patients Gleason, Patricia Gail


The purpose of this study was to describe the elements of a hospital funded, community based cardiac home follow up program which post myocardial patients and families found helpful during the recovery period immediately after discharge from hospital to six weeks post discharge. A retrospective descriptive survey was conducted on a convenience sample of 96 program participants. Forty eight participants returned the Cardiac Home Follow Up Questionnaire. The responses and scores of the items on the questionnaire were analyzed with descriptive statistics. The patients in this sample found the elements of information about physical changes, individualized recovery plan, and the supervised, graduated exercise components of the program to be helpful to them in their recovery during the first 6 weeks after discharge from hospital. While patients and families found that the weekly home visits from the nurse were supportive, they also identified a need for more assistance in strategies to deal with emotional aspects of heart disease. The issue of family involvement in the home follow up program also yielded some interesting data. While most of the participants agreed that the experience of a myocardial infarction influenced family functioning and therefore, family involvement was a positive intervention for their recovery, 27% of the sample opposed this idea. Despite discrepancies in the family involvement content area, a majority of participants acknowledged that the home follow up program assisted them in maintaining lifestyle changes made after their myocardial infarction. Finally, most participants and family members were very satisfied with the program and many viewed the experience as part of the comprehensive cardiac care provided by their community hospital. The findings are discussed in relation to the literature on patient education and research on individualized cardiac follow up programs. The implications for nursing practice, education, and research are outlined.

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