“When what is taken for granted disappears”: Women’s experiences and perceptions after a cardiac event
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHellem, E. & Bruusgaard, K.A. (2018). “When what is taken for granted disappears”: Women’s experiences and perceptions after a cardiac event. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. doi:10.1080/09593985.2018.1550829 http://doi.org/10.1080/09593985.2018.1550829
On entering Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) the female cardiac population shows greater fear of overexertion and sense of uncertainty than similarly affected men. The purpose of this study was to explore how women experienced the recovery process after a cardiac event and what impact the event had on bodily experiences. The study has a qualitative, descriptive design, inspired by a phenomenological approach. Information was collected from 20 women through focus groups and individual in-depth interviews. It was analyzed with a method of systematic text condensation. The findings revealed that women’s recovery after a CE could be a lonely and difficult process. The women’s own perspectives on what they need in the process is often overlooked, focus being on medical care and clinical recovery in the early phase. Returning home, the women suffered vulnerability, fragility, and insecurity, affecting well-being as well as activity levels. Lack of support and follow-up post-discharge seemed to disturb the progress of the recovery process. Helping the women regain confidence in their new bodies, supporting the personal recovery processes, and bridging the gap between discharge and enrolling in a CR-program could reduce personal stress and withdrawal, thereby empowering more women to start and complete CR programs.