From hope and expectation to unexpected death after cardiac surgery.
ABSTRACT Relatives of patients undergoing cardiac surgery expect successful outcome but sometimes complications cause death. The aim was to interview relatives of patients who have died in connection with cardiac surgery and describe their experiences of information, reception and care.
Data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with 18 relatives of deceased patients and then analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Two main groups emerged: "Analysing the situation" with the sub-groups: knowledge of cardiac disease, the road to operation, hope and despair, information and choice and "The thin thread of life" with the sub-groups, reception, life is over, care, death as a relief, cause of death and support.
Most relatives were satisfied with the information and care in connection with the operation and at the end of life. However, some aspects such as inadequate pain control and transportation of critically ill patients to other wards and hospitals could be improved. One way is to introduce a co-ordinator in order to better support patients, next of kin and colleagues without experience of cardio-thoracic surgery who need help during the patients' way from diagnosis and acceptance of cardiac surgery and through the treatment and postoperative care.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Death always evokes feelings in those close to the afflicted person. When death comes suddenly the time for preparation is minimal and the next of kin have to cope with the situation despite their own sorrow. The suddenness is found to be stressful for the next of kin and communication both with healthcare professionals and information about what has happened has been found helpful. The aim of this study was to illuminate the experiences of next of kin from the sudden and unexpected death of a relative from acute stroke. METHODS: Data was collected over a 12-month period in 2009--2010. Twelve next of kin of patients cared for in stroke units who died suddenly and unexpectedly from stroke were interviewed using a narrative method. The narratives were analyzed using narrative thematic analysis. RESULTS: Three themes emerged showing facets of next of kin's experiences of a relative's sudden and unexpected death from stroke: Divided feelings about the sudden and unexpected death; Perception of time and directed attention when keeping vigil; Contradictions and arbitrary memories when searching for understanding. CONCLUSIONS: To have to live in the aftermath of severe stroke is absolute horror in people's imagination and death is seen as the lesser of two evils. The sudden and unexpected death totally pervades the next of kin's life, directs their attention to the dying person and even causes them to forget themselves and their own needs, and leads to difficulties in information intake. It is a challenge for the healthcare professionals to be able to identify the individual needs of the next of kin in this situation.BMC Nursing 04/2013; 12(1):13.