Sussie Laustsen

Lifestyle after Cardiac Rehabilitation: Did the Message Come across, and Was It Feasible? An Analysis of Patients’ Narratives

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Lifestyle following heart disease is considered important to prevent and reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Thus, cardiac rehabilitation is focused on potential lifestyle changes. Further insight into patients’ perspective on lifestyle after cardiac rehabilitation is needed as changing habits fol- lowing heart disease is a complex matter. The objective of this study was to explore the character- istics of lifestyle after cardiac rehabilitation. A phenomenological-hermeneutic approach with qualitative interviews was performed in 20 patients six months after completing a hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation programme in 2012 at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. The patients were diagnosed with ischemic heart disease, heart failure or left heart valve disease. The interviews were analysed using the interpretation theory by Ricoeur. The variation in reactions to car- diac rehabilitation were: 1) considering prior lifestyle to be appropriate, maybe with minor ad- justments; 2) acknowledging the need for incorporating lifestyle changes; and 3) reconciling or feeling guilt when being unable to manage changes. Participation in the cardiac rehabilitation programme was a positive experience, but it had minor influence on long-term adherence to rec- ommended lifestyle. The important thing in establishing new routines was whether they aroused interest, and whether the experience of changes was perceived as necessary and manageable. In future cardiac rehabilitation, focusing on patients’ interests and supporting them in incorporating recommendations into their everyday life might be essential following heart disease, also after ending cardiac rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2641-2650
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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