The meaning of hospital care, as narrated by elderly patients with chronic heart failure

Ekman, I.; Lundman, B.; Norberg, A.

Heart and Lung the Journal of Critical Care 28(3): 203-209


ISSN/ISBN: 0147-9563
PMID: 10330216
DOI: 10.1016/s0147-9563(99)70060-9
Accession: 011524399

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Chronic heart failure is the most common reason for hospitalization among the elderly in western societies. To elucidate the meaning of the experience of care received in the hospital, as narrated by 12 elderly patients with severe chronic heart failure, interviews were analyzed by an approach inspired by Ricoeur's phenomenologic hermeneutics. The analysis revealed that the study respondents experienced the care as "unpredictable." This essential theme captured the divergent descriptions of 2 subthemes: care was either "confident but incomprehensible" or "nonconfident and incomprehensible." When the patients sought care, it was as though they were launching themselves into the unknown because they knew that many experiences would be unpredictable. Despite experiences of indifferent and unpredictable care, the narratives revealed a need to rely on the caregivers' expertise.