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Experiences of surviving life-threatening illness: The meaning of recovery
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (CaReHel)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5670-6908
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (CaReHel)
2021 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 35, no 4, p. 1160-1168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Recovery from life‐threatening illness may be experienced as more demanding and lasts longer than patients first expect. Many patients experience recovery after life‐threatening illness, as filled with complex problems. These problems are primarily physical and psychological, although also social, and adversely affect daily life as well as perceived quality of life. Patients experience uncertainty about living with the legacy of a life‐threatening illness and how it negatively limits their daily lives and experienced health.

Aim

The purpose is to illuminate experiences of the meaning of recovery from life‐threatening disease.

Ethical approval

Approval for the study was obtained through a Regional Research Ethics Committee.

Methods

This study was conducted as a qualitative narrative study. This means that written stories of human recovery beyond suffering from life‐threatening disease were collected and analysed with a phenomenological hermeneutic method.

 Results

The findings reveal two major areas – intrapersonal meanings and relational meanings. Four themes were found in these areas, each of which was divided into subthemes as follows: obstacles, for example disappointment of life, alienation of self and opportunities/resources: for example balance, own knowledge, hope and gratitude; relational obstacles, for example a lack of care, stigmatisation and economic stress; and relational resources such as informal care and professional care.

Study limitations

The informants were predominantly women that may be explained by the fact that females seem to be more often engaged in social media and willing to participate in these kinds of studies. Another limitation is that we only reached out to Swedish speaking Facebook groups when recruiting our informants.

Conclusions

In the narratives of their recovery process, surprisingly few focused on professional health care as a resource. Experiences from the study may be used to further develop care, especially to support patient self‐care regarding intrapersonal and relational resources that promote patient recovery beyond suffering from life‐threatening disease.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2021. Vol. 35, no 4, p. 1160-1168
Keywords [en]
experiences, Facebook, narratives, obstacles, recovery, resources, severe illness, social media, survivors
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Care Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-52620DOI: 10.1111/scs.12933ISI: 000589805700001PubMedID: 33200846Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85096704078OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-52620DiVA, id: diva2:1501750
Available from: 2020-11-18 Created: 2020-11-18 Last updated: 2021-12-16Bibliographically approved

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