Dyspnoea and self-management strategies in patients admitted to the emergency department: A study of patients’ experiences

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Aims and objective: To explore patients’ experiences of acute dyspnoea, physical functioning and perspectives on course of illness prior to admission to the emergency department. Background: Many emergency admissions are considered unnecessary and avoidable. In this perspective, it seems relevant to gain insight into the patients’ perspective on acute dyspnoea and the need for emergency admission. However, only few studies have investigated reasons for emergency admission from a patient perspective. Design: A qualitative study was conducted with semi-structured interviews among six patients previously admitted to the emergency department due to dyspnoea. Data collection and analysis were carried out according to Kvale & Brinkmann using meaning condensation. Findings: Dyspnoea was experienced as an unpleasant breathlessness in the form of pain or suffocation, which limited usual physical activities, negatively impacting on quality of life. Self-management strategies such as medication, breathing exercises, distraction from breathing, and mental and physical relaxation in general were used to avoid hospital admission. The chronically ill patients saw the following ways to alternate course of disease to avoid admissions to the emergency department: easier access to specialised emergency medical care, medical supplies in the patient's home and making existing physical exercise programmes more accessible and interesting. Conclusion and relevance to clinical practice: It would be relevant to further investigate whether prehospital interventions may remedy acute dyspnoea among chronically ill patients, and whether such interventions are cost-effective.

TidsskriftJournal of Clinical Nursing
Sider (fra-til)4112-4118
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2018

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