Experiences of health-promoting self-care in people living with rheumatic diseases

Authors

  • Susann Arvidsson,

    1. Susann Arvidsson MNSc RN PhD Student Research and Development Centre, Spenshult Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Oskarström, Sweden, and School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Sweden
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  • Stefan Bergman,

    1. Stefan Bergman MD PhD Research Director Research and Development Centre, Spenshult Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Oskarström, Sweden
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  • Barbro Arvidsson,

    1. Barbro Arvidsson PhD RNT Professor Research and Development Centre, Spenshult Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Oskarström, Sweden, School of Social and Health Sciences, Halmstad University, Sweden, and Faculty of Health Care and Nursing, Gjøvik University College, Norway
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  • Bengt Fridlund,

    1. Bengt Fridlund PhD RNT Professor School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Sweden
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  • Anita Bengtsson Tops

    1. Anita Bengtsson Tops PhD RNT Associate Professor School of Health Sciences and Social Work, Växjö University, Sweden
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S. Arvidsson: e-mail: susann.arvidsson@spenshult.se

Abstract

arvidsson s., bergman s., arvidsson b., fridlund b. & tops a.b. (2011) Experiences of health-promoting self-care in people living with rheumatic diseases. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(6), 1264–1272.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study that explores and describes the meaning of the phenomenon of health-promoting self-care as experienced by people living with rheumatic diseases.

Background.  People with rheumatic diseases estimate health status as low and health belief and health status influence self-care behaviours. Several self-care behaviours are used in the efforts to mitigate the diseases.

Method.  The study had a descriptive phenomenological approach based on a reflective life-world perspective. Data were gathered in 2007 by unstructured open-ended interviews with 12 individuals living with rheumatic diseases.

Findings.  The meaning of health-promoting self-care as experienced by people living with rheumatic diseases was that self-care takes place against a background of continual hope and belief to influence health in positive ways. Self-care was a way of life and implied being ready to understand and respond to signals from the body. Three inter-related constituents elucidated their experiences: dialogue, power struggle and choice. Self-care was experienced as dialogues with the body and with the immediate environment. In order to respond to signals from the body, power struggles were required to be entered into when fighting the diseases. Choices were required to be made and things that were beneficial for the body were prioritized.

Conclusion.  In this study, the meaning of health-promoting self-care as experienced by people living with rheumatic diseases was that self-care was a way of life. This meant to be ready to understand and respond to signals from the body. Self-care required dialogues, power struggles and choices.

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