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Keywords:

  • Chinese;
  • convalescence;
  • couples’ experiences;
  • focus groups;
  • heart attack;
  • nursing;
  • patient education

Abstract

Title. Chinese couples’ experiences during convalescence from a first heart attack: a focus group study

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore Chinese patients’ and partners’ experiences during early convalescence from a first heart attack.

Background.  There are important socio-cultural differences between Chinese and western populations and comparatively little is known about the experiences of Chinese patients and partners living with a first heart attack.

Method.  A qualitative study using focus groups was conducted in 2005 with 17 Chinese patients and their partners during convalescence from a first heart attack. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. Analysis was used to identify categories using established qualitative phenomenological techniques.

Findings.  Content analysis of the data revealed five major categories: enduring uncertainty; coping with changes; experiencing emotional reactions; living with medications and needing professional help.

Conclusion.  The experiences of Chinese patients and partners during early convalescence from a first heart attack are different from their western counterparts and are affected by cultural traditions. Findings from this study may provide useful pointers for health professionals to deliver culturally sensitive and appropriate support and education during early convalescence.