Working to 'stay in life': A way of living life with heart failure: A grounded theory study

Muncaster, Stephanie A.
Wilson, Jan
Dignam, Denise
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Heart failure is known to be the leading cause of hospital admissions in the elderly, and has far reaching implications beyond the cost of delivering health care. Individuals with heart failure experience physical symptoms leading to change within their lives. This grounded theory study was conducted in Auckland, New Zealand to explore what it is like to live with heart failure from the perspective of eight home dwelling men. A Glaserian (1967) grounded theory approach has been used to explore the dynamic processes experienced by the participants, in relation to their lives with heart failure. The use of Glaserian grounded theory produced a substantive theory. The findings support a basic social process model of working to ‘stay in life’. This model contains three categories from which individuals with heart failure observe and work to maximize their lives. The degree of work undertaken is determined by theoretical conditions which interpret the experience of change in self from having heart failure, and lead to the instigation of strategies, routines and plans that allow the individuals to “hold my own” and “work to be well”. This work is conducted to ensure individuals maintain quality of life and ‘stay in the life’ that is significant to them. The working to stay in ‘life’ model has the potential to influence the practice of health care professionals when assessing individuals with heart failure, especially with regard to awareness and experience of the syndrome. From this assessment plans of action when sick, education needs and practical life tools can be aimed at meeting individuals needs, providing techniques to work within the limitations experienced and thus improving personal situations.

Heart failure -- Patients -- New Zealand
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