Self-care agency and perceived health among people using advanced medical technology at home

Authors

  • Angelika Fex,

    1. Angelika Fex PhD RN Senior Lecturer in Nursing Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Sweden and Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden
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  • Gullvi Flensner,

    1. Gullvi Flensner PhD RN Senior Lecturer in Nursing Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Sweden and Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden
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  • Anna-Christina Ek,

    1. Anna-Christina Ek PhD RN Professor Emeritus Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden
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  • Olle Söderhamn

    1. Olle Söderhamn PhD RN Professor of Nursing Science Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Sweden and Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, and Centre for Caring Research Southern Norway, University of Agder, Norway
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A. Fex: e-mail: angelika.fex@hv.se

Abstract

fex a., flensner g., ek a.-c. & söderhamn o. (2011) Self-care agency and perceived health among people using advanced medical technology at home. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(4), 806–815.

Abstract

Aim.  This article reports a study of self-care agency and perceived health in a group of people using advanced medical technology at home.

Background.  An increasing number of people are using medical technology for self-care. Few studies describe daily life in this context at an overriding level, irrespective of the specific sort of technology. A connection between self-care, perceived health and sense of coherence has previously been implied.

Methods.  A descriptive, comparative, cross-sectional quantitative design was used. Data were collected from a questionnaire during the winter of 2009/2010. The questionnaire addressed perceived health and daily life with medical technology. Swedish versions of the Appraisal of Self-care Agency scale and the 13-item version of Antonovsky’s sense of coherence scale were included.

Results.  The questionnaire was answered by 180 adults performing self-care at home involving long-term oxygen, a ventilator, or peritoneal- or haemo-dialysis. Health-related and technology-related variables in daily life were mostly highly satisfactory. Perceived health was rated significantly lower among participants using long-term oxygen. Sufficient sense of coherence, knowledge of how to use technology, close contact with others and not feeling helpless contributed positively to self-care agency. Positive contributing factors for perceived health were being satisfied with life, having an active life and not feeling helpless, whereas age was a negative factor.

Conclusion.  Daily life is manageable for people in this context. Long-term oxygen treatment and advanced age can be regarded as risk factors for perceiving ill health.

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