Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/1223
Reflection on patients’ needs is a necessary part of the assessment of quality of services.
An interpretive phenomenological study aimed to add to the existing knowledge base
about the phenomenon patients’ needs in rehabilitation, the patients’ side was explored,
which is, unfortunately, a rare perspective in rehabilitation literature.
The sample was purposively selected and consisted of twelve individuals aged 26-85
years -seven men, five women - who had experienced rehabilitation therapy at one of
three main rehabilitation clinics in Iceland. The participants were seen as co-researchers
and their medical diagnoses were heart disease, paralysis, arthritis, chronic lung disease,
stroke, chronic fatigue, psychological problems and pain. Six co-researchers had been
referred to rehabilitation following an acute event and six because of a chronic state.
The study was conducted in accordance with The Vancouver School of Doing
Phenomenology and each co-researcher was interviewed one to three times. The end
result was sixteen in-depth interviews that were analyzed thematically and interpreted.
Six main needs were identified in the co-researchers’ accounts. Firstly, the coresearchers
needed to be able to cope with the impact of their acute or chronic problems.
They felt that their ability to cope was strongly tied to their own personal traits, their
earlier experience and preconceptions, knowing the source of their suffering, and to
experience a balance between sleep, rest and activity while in rehabilitation. Secondly,
they needed to adapt to a new self since their accident or illness usually meant adapting
to new characteristics of self. They needed, however, in the middle of these existential
changes to be able to sustain a personal role and needed faith, hope and optimism to
succeed. Thirdly, they needed individualized caring, where they needed to be ‘I’ and not
just ‘the patient’, they needed to be listened to and heard in a caring relationship where
their need for privacy, when needed, was respected. Fourthly, they needed emotional
support from family, peers and staff. Furthermore, they needed a sense of security in a
stable and homelike environment with available assistance, help and presence. Finally,
the co-researchers needed a goal -oriented and progressive care, where realistic and
achievable goals were established, where patient education enhanced their independency
and they were empowered into a new lifestyle.
No generalizations will be drawn from the results, as each co-researcher's experience is
unique. However, phenomenological studies can affect services by facilitating
understanding and reflection on the subject.
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