Individuals’ perception of their quality of life following a liver transplant: an exploratory study
This study explores individuals’ perceptions of the effect of a liver transplant on their quality of life, focusing on the progression from dependence to independence physically, socially and psychologically. A phenomenological design using taped semi-structured interviews was used. The sample consisted of five patients attending the out-patients clinic at least 1 year following a liver transplant for chronic liver disease. The data were analysed using cluster analysis of transcribed interviews. Categories were identified as physical, social and psychological factors affecting their progression from dependence to independence pre- and post-transplant and specific factors were identified as significant in overcoming the stressors affecting this progression. The findings reflected Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Pre-transplant their physical problems prevented them fulfilling personal goals and addressing psychological issues, e.g. dying. Post-transplant any physical problems identified were insignificant to the participant. They were keen to socially integrate and be treated as normal; however, family and friends restricted their independence by continuing to ‘wrap them in cotton wool’ as they had before their transplant. Personality, incentives and Unit support were identified as imperative in their progression from dependence to independence. The findings demonstrate a need to impress on family and friends of patients following a liver transplant, their role in assisting the patient’s progression from dependence to independence.