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Concerns of adult open heart surgery patients during the three to four weeks following discharge from hospital O’Loane, Brenda Maureen

Abstract

This descriptive study was designed to explore the perceived concerns of open heart surgery patients following their discharge from hospital. The study was conducted by means of semi-structured interviews of twenty patients who were convalescing from open heart surgery, who met a set of specified criteria, and who gave written consent to participate in the study. All twenty patients had undergone open heart surgery in a large urban hospital over a period of four months. The patients were interviewed by the investigator during their third or fourth week at home in order to obtain a fairly accurate view of the concerns and difficulties faced by them early in their convalescence. Subsequently, the investigator was to identify the common concerns. A semi-structured, verbal interview schedule was employed to elicit spontaneous responses about the patients1 physiological, emotional and socio-economic concerns. Patients were also asked for some evaluation of the printed Discharge Guidelines they received prior to hospital discharge. The investigator transcribed the tape-recorded interviews and compiled the data noting specific common concerns of patients during said period of convalescence. Ninety-five percent of the patients expressed concerns of a physiological nature. The most common concerns in this area were pain, difficulty sleeping, and continued weakness and tiredness. Seventy-five percent of the study group experienced emotional concerns, the most common being frustration resulting from a low tolerance for physical activity, and feelings of depression. Thirty percent of the patients expressed socio-economic concerns of which only one concern, that of financial need, was common to two of the patients. All twenty patients received the Discharge Guidelines in the hospital. Nineteen of these instruction sheets were completed, one was not. Eighty-five percent of the patients received some explanation of these printed instructions. Thirty-five percent of the study group received some written elaboration of the instructions, including a schedule for increasing walking activity. The study concluded with recommendations for better preparation of open heart surgery patients for hospital discharge, and suggestions of areas for further investigation.

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