The purpose of this study was to examine the meaning of lived experiences after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and being a partner to an afflicted woman, as it is narrated during rehabilitation. Nine women and their partners narrated their experiences three and twelve months after AMI. The interview texts were transcribed and then interpreted, using a phenomenological-hermeneutic method inspired by the philosophy of Ricoeur. The result showed that their experiences of the illness contained two themes: 'rehabilitation needed' and 'loss of freedom' which contains eight sub-themes; 'adapting to it', 'struggling against it', 'living as normally as possible', 'having insight into how it can be', 'feeling guilty and ashamed about being weak', 'withholding feelings', 'feeling useless', and 'feeling fatigued and losing strength'. After further interpretation, the themes gave a deeper meaning of living with AMI and how it affects women and their partners. The women conceded that they felt distressed and vulnerable but struggled against the fear the illness means. The partner's role appears to be one of trying to adapt to the women's experiences of the illness. That the women withheld their feelings and did not talk about them indicates a lack of communication between the couples. As coronary care nurses often come very close both to the afflicted persons and the relatives they fill an important function in each patient's recovery. The nurses could help and prepare the patients and their relatives to understand better such feelings and reactions as could appear after discharge from hospital.
This qualitative study explored the applicability and usefulness of a promising advance care planning (ACP) intervention and examined the ACP process. Nine dyads (patients newly diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and a family member) participated in the ACP intervention, with evaluative interviews at 3 and 6 months after the intervention. All interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using constant comparison. The process was found not to be one of preparing a substitute decision-maker to speak for oneself and direct health care at a time when one is incapacitated; rather, the families engaged in a deeply relational process where meaning, values, and preferences were negotiated in conversation. ACP is theoretically rooted in a traditional notion of patient autonomy that is not aligned with the relational process that unfolded in this study. An approach that embraces relational autonomy is more congruent and provides a stronger foundation for meeting the needs of families.