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Health-illness transition among persons using advanced medical technology at home

Journal title
Scandinavian journal of caring sciences
Publication year
Fex, A.; Flensner, G.; Ek, A. C.; Soderhamn, O.

This study aimed to elucidate meanings of health-illness transition experiences among adult persons using advanced medical technology at home. As an increasing number of persons perform self-care while using different sorts of advanced medical technology at home, knowledge about health-illness transition experiences in this situation may be useful to caregivers in supporting these patients. A qualitative design was used. Five women and five men, all of whom performed self-care at home, either using long-term oxygen therapy from a ventilator or oxygen cylinder, or performing peritoneal or haemodialysis, were interviewed. Ethics committee approval was obtained. Informed consent was received from all participants, and ethical issues concerning their rights in research were raised. The interviews were analysed using a phenomenological hermeneutical methodology, including both an inductive and a deductive structural analysis. This method offers possibilities to obtain an increased understanding by uncovering a deeper meaning of lived experiences through interviews transcribed as texts. The health-illness transition for adult persons in this context was found to mean a learning process of accepting, managing, adjusting and improving daily life with technology, facilitated by realizing the gain from technology at home. Further, the meaning of the health-illness transition experience was interpreted as contentment with being part of the active and conscious process towards transcending into a new state of living, in which the individual and the technology were in tune. The healthy transition experience was characterized by human growth and becoming. This study elucidates one meaning of health-illness transition experiences in relation to the use of advanced medical technology on a more generic level, independent of the specific type of technology used. A positive attitude towards technology at home facilitates the transition.

Research abstracts