• BACKGROUND The period immediately after discharge from the hospital after an acute myocardial infarction is a stressful and vulnerable time about which little is known. • OBJECTIVE To explore health status, perceptions of coping, and social support among survivors of a recent myocardial infarction in the first 3 weeks after discharge from hospitals in southwestern Sydney, Australia. • METHODS A descriptive, exploratory approach with a triangulated methodology was used to assess the experiences of 38 survivors, detect patterns in these experiences, explore the health-support needs of survivors, and determine changes in health status in the first 3 weeks after discharge. Quantitative data were collected with the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36, New York Heart Association classification, Canadian Cardiovascular Society Angina Scale, and the Jalowiec Coping Scale. A semistructured interview schedule provided additional qualitative data about the experiences of the survivors. • RESULTS The health status of participants was relatively stable during the 3-week period; most had no activity limitation due to dyspnea or angina. However, the subjects' health status was considerably lower than that of their age-matched population. The most common and most effective coping strategies adopted during this period were confrontation, optimism, and self-reliance. In addition, the subjects experienced anxiety, depression, ambiguity and uncertainty, fear of recurrence of the infarction and of deterioration in health, of boredom and of inertia. • CONCLUSION These findings can help nurses in hospital and community settings assist survivors of acute myocardial infarction to prepare for and deal effectively with experiences during convalescence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care