Struggling to retain living space: patients’ stories about living with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 67, Issue 7, pages 1480–1490, July 2011
How to Cite
Ek, K., Sahlberg-Blom, E., Andershed, B. and Ternestedt, B.-M. (2011), Struggling to retain living space: patients’ stories about living with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67: 1480–1490. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05604.x
- Issue published online: 12 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2011
- Accepted for publication 18 December 2010
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
- living alone;
- oxygen therapy;
ek k., sahlberg-blom e., andershed b. & ternestedt b.-m. (2011) Struggling to retain living space: patients’ stories about living with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(7), 1480–1490.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study of the experience of living with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and long-term oxygen therapy when living alone.
Background. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects an increasing number of people. Breathlessness, fatigue and dejection are common symptoms during the last years of life.
Method. Repeated qualitative interviews with four participants were conducted over an 8-month period in 2008. The data comprised 17 interviews, 15 telephone conversations and various field notes. A phenomenological hermeneutical method was used to interpret the text.
Findings. The analysis resulted in two main themes and five sub-themes. The first main theme, Being subordinated to the sick body, implies that the body, assistive devices and entrusting oneself to the hands of others can both extend and restrict the living space. The second main theme, Protecting significant values of identity, encompasses both the struggle to maintain self-image and the awareness of one’s own death.
Conclusion. Living alone with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a challenging and complex phenomenon. The everyday life was characterized by a struggle to keep autonomy during a time of increasing dependency and need for help. A person-centred nursing care, built upon peoples’ own experiences, may be one way to promote identity and dignity in patients even when they are close to death.